INTERNATIONALLY acclaimed sculptor John Sherlock has said he was honoured to be commissioned to create an artwork in tribute to the Ulster Defence Regiment.
The Whiteabbey artist has been working with the regiment’s Memorial Trust to create a lasting tribute to the UDR for display in Lisburn city centre.
Mr Sherlock has achieved international acclaim for his many sculptures of Northern Ireland’s religious, sporting and political elite. His more high-profle commissions have included a life-sized bronze statue of Professor Frank Pantridge, inventor of the cardiac defbrillator, and a sculpture of inventor and aviation pioneer Harry Ferguson. He has also completed bronze busts of Nobel Laureates David Trimble and John Hume.
The 19ft high UDR memorial comprises the bronze figures of a male soldier and a female ‘Greenfinch’ on operational duty on an imposing Mourne granite plinth and is a tribute to all who served with the regiment - not just those who were killed or injured.
An inscription on the plinth simply says: “In memory of the men and women of the Ulster Defence Regiment 1970-1992.”
Commenting on the artwork, Mr Sherlock said: “Everyone involved in the sculpture has put their heart and soul into it and I couldn’t have had a better group to work for.
“I don’t think I could have got a better commission for a more justifiable project - I hope it strengthens the resolve of all those who served.”
The sculpture’s creator, who has no direct connections with the regiment, said his work on the UDR memorial started with a maquette (small scale model) of the finished piece at his studio near Station Road in Whiteabbey.
“There was a great team looking after the overall production of the sculpture. Once the maquette was made it was a matter of having it approved and then getting it scaled up to life-size and then one-and-a-half times life-size.
“Then you have to cover the whole thing with silicone and carry out various other processes before it can be cast in bronze.”
The sculpture is due to be unveiled in Lisburn’s Market Square later this year.
Anyone wishing to make a donation towards the funding for the sculpture can send a cheque (made payable to The UDR Memorial Trust) to: The secretary, UDR Memorial Trust, Anderson House, Palace Barracks, Holywood, BT18 9QA.