Sacrifice memorial to be unveiled on eve of battle anniversary

It was in 2016 that a sculpture by artist Andy Mayers was first unveiled to the public as part of a commemorative event to honour those men from Belper who died in the Battle of the Somme. 

Three years later to the day, on June 30, the eve of the Great War battle, a permanent version of the sculpture will be installed in the town’s Memorial Gardens. 

Sacrifice depicts Jim Green a Lance Corporal in the 1st/5th Battalion Sherwood Foresters who lived on Cow Hill – he was one of 14 Belper men to die in the battle on July 1.

Andy designed the original sculpture using wood and foam board with help from The Belper Art Group, and it was met with so many plaudits that people asked for a steel version to be made.

The Belper In Wartime group have been raising funds to enable the vision to become reality ever since and were being given a final helping hand by musicians John Tams and Barry Coope who agreed to close Belper Arts Festival with a charity concert.

The ‘One Day… ?’ concert on June 1 at St Peter’s Church, Belper, was a sellout success.

The duo will also be performing at the unveiling of Sacrifice along with Mat Williams, Paddy Stafford and Belper Musical Theatre, seniors and juniors.

“It is an extremely generous gesture by John and Barry,” said Belper In Wartime group member George Gunby. 

The concert has also attracted sponsorship and additional donations, including grants from Belper Town Council and Belper and Duffield Rotary Club. Individuals have contributed a substantial amount including a donation from relatives of Private Walter Pepper in New Zealand.

The unveiling of Sacrifice will take place at 1.30pm on June 30.