The sculptor who created the memorial to the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment in Halifax hopes it will be the pride of the town.
Andrew Sinclair, sculptor of the memorial, said: “My overriding feeling is pride, and I feel I’m part of something really important here.
“It’s gone down very well. We’ve had nothing but praise and enthusiasm for the whole project, so it’s been brilliant.
“The turnout was amazing, it’s really lovely to see. It’s going to be the pride of Halifax I hope.
“I hope people are moved by it, and that they’re drawn into the design itself. It’s not a sculpture about the great and the good standing on a plinth, it’s about the soldiers themselves, their history.
“I think it will make people stop and think, and maybe look it up and find out what it was all about, why there’s an elephant in it, why there’s rugby players, and so on.
“It was a huge challenge. It’s only the last two weeks I’ve really realised how much responsibility was sitting on my shoulders.
“The trip up here was a worry, putting it in place was a worry, but it’s all gone very smoothly.”
The Duke of Wellington, Arthur Charles Valerian Wellesley OBE DL, said: “Everybody involved should be very proud of what they’ve achieved.
“Brigadeer Meek, as chairman of the committe, with many helpers, has put this together, and we’re all very grateful to them.
“I think it’s very good. I saw it as a maquette, and I think the finished piece is an excellent memorial to the regiment.
“I suspect there are many people living in or near Halifax who had relations in the regiment, whether it be an uncle or a great uncle or a great grandfather.
“And for all of the local people, this is a symbol of their families and their public service to the crown. I think that’s a wonderful thing to commemorate.
“I’ve been driving round the town and it’s a wonderfully preserved and decorated town, and I hope this is a further addition to the wonderful, historic buildings there are here already.”
Colonel Charles Dent, a Vice Patron of the Memorial Appeal, said: “It’s a very important part of this part of the world and everybody turned out, which was wonderful.
“I think you need to think of Halifax as the centre of the West Riding, and i think it’s marvellous (that the memorial is here).
“I know Halifax as a town has been enormously helpful in facilitating this, and you couldn’t have a more prominent position for it.
“The committee have raised a lot of money to do this, and I really didn’t think they would, but they have.
“And with the support of Halifax, it’s a fitting tribute.”
Appeal Fundraising Chair Brigadeer Andrew Meek, CBE, said: “It’s been a fabulous day, and it’s gone far better than I could have hoped. I’m absolutely over the moon with it.
“The reaction speaks for itself. Everybody seems to be overjoyed with it, they’re really impressed with it.
“The point with the design is that it’s celebratory. It’s celebrating 304 years of history, over 200,000 men who served in the regiment, and the families that supported them.
“You don’t get all that in one visit. You have to come back and come back, and every time, you’ll see something new in this memorial. That is the idea behind it.”
Colonel John Barkshire, a Vice Patron of the Memorial Appeal, said: “It’s an absolutely marvellous day and I think it’s shown by the number of people here, standing round the memorial.
“It looks as though Halifax has really taken this project to heart, and have come to witness the unveiling.
“i think there’s a feeling of pride and ownership from the people of Halifax - I think it’s their regiment, and that’s why we brought the memorial here.
“I think it’s very much part of the culture her and hopefully this memorial will cement it for the future.”
Richard Harvey, who was a corporal in the regiment, and now volunteers at the Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Association Museum at Bankfield Museum, said: “It started in December 2017 and here we are now in May 2019. It’s been a long, hard slog but we’ve put a lot into this.
“I think people will be amazed by it. I think when they see it, they’ll remember their relatives - their sons, their brothers, their fathers who all served. 205,000 men served underneath that badge.
“This is there to represent all of them.
“I served in the regiment, I was born in Halifax. It’s absolutely brilliant.”