Private Woodcock VC Commemorative Artwork

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Me alongside Tracey Williams from Wigan and Leigh Homes, tenants' representative Chris Brady, Thomas Woodcock VC's granddaughter Veronica Ashton and historians Tom Walsh and Terry Atherton at the spot where the new artwork will go.

Thomas Woodcock was 29 years old, and a private in the 2nd Battalion, Irish Guards, British Army during the First World War when the following deed took place for which he was awarded the VC.

On 12/13 September 1917 north of Broenbeek, Belgium, when an advanced post had held out for 96 hours and was finally forced to retire, the lance-sergeant (John Moyney) in charge of the party and Private Woodcock covered the retirement. After crossing the stream themselves, Private Woodcock heard cries for help behind him - he returned and waded into the stream amid a shower of bombs and rescued another member of the party whom he carried across open ground in daylight towards our front line, regardless of machine-gun fire.

He was killed in action at Bullecourt, France, on 27 March 1918.

For this selfless act of bravery he became a recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces.

To help celebrate his life and bravery, I have been commissioned to produce mosaic and steel memorial in the Scholes area of Wigan (where Thomas was born, and lived).

The piece will be wall mounted on a prominent feature adjacent to the housing black named after him (Woodcock House), and stand over 2 meters high.

The artwork also includes images produced by pupils from a local school (St Pat's Catholic primary School), who have been learning about Thomas's life, (a former pupil of the school). A typical street scene from where Thomas used to live is also included.

The portrait of Thomas will be produced from porcelain mosaic tiles and the whole piece overlaid by a laser cut, steel painted frame.

This work commissioned by Wigan Council will be ready late summer 2017, and i feel very honoured to be a part of this project in my home town.

For more information click here.

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