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First look at striking mural honouring First World War heroes

PUBLISHED: 22:52 24 October 2018

Great War mural in Hadleigh

Great War mural in Hadleigh

Archant

Two amateur Suffolk artists have painted a mural to commemorate the 1918 armistice.

Great War mural in Hadleigh Great War mural in Hadleigh

Mark Brennan and Jane Olive decided to paint the mural as part of the Hadleigh Great War Centenary Project which has seen many odes to the armistice pop-up across the town.

Mr Brennan has continued to document the lives of the soldiers who went to war from the town and has been the driving force behind the project.

He said: “If I can do anything to get the story of remembrance out I will.

“It’s not just about remembering the war but about remembering the people that came before, the people that shaped our environment in the town.”

Great War mural in Hadleigh Great War mural in Hadleigh

His painting partner, Ms Olive, who works as a community health visitor said: “We are just very close friends Mark and I, he’s very modest but we all see him as an all round Hadleigh hero.

“It is my first stab at a mural and I’m honoured that Mark asked me to help, he’s done so much locally as part of remembrance.

“We should never forget the lives of the men, women and animals who sacrificed everything.”

Mr Brennan served in the British Army for 29 years and painted a couple of murals for his squadron while in Afghanistan.

Great War mural in Hadleigh Great War mural in Hadleigh

“Camp Bastion in Helmand is full of these plain concrete blocks,” said Mr Brennan.

“They were covered in brilliant artwork, I’ve always loved art and did a couple of murals of my own there.”

Mr Brennan left the armed forces in 2012 and became the chairman of the Royal British Legion branch in Hadleigh soon after.

It was there that his remembrance journey began.

Great War mural in Hadleigh Great War mural in Hadleigh

He said: “In 2014 the Great War centenary celebrations began and that is when I started the project.

“We have been holding events each year, documenting and researching every name on the war memorial in the town and taking high school children out on projects. Last year we actually went to France to see the battlefields, we are trying to pass these stories to the younger generation.”

Mr Brennan and Ms Olive worked for over five hours to paint the beautiful mural in the town as part of this year’s centenary celebration.

It depicts a line of British Tommies silhouetted against a colourful sunset, adorned with the famous line: “At the going down of the sun.”

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