Veterans' memories inspire students' giant montage at the Arboretum

28 January 2016

A giant montage, which was created by a group of Year 12 students from Aldridge School following interviews with war veterans, was unveiled at the Arboretum today.

The artwork, which is about 2.5m high and 8m wide, adorns hoardings next to our visitor centre and will remain in place until building work on our new visitor facilities is completed in autumn.

Created by a group of 10 students from Aldridge School in Tynings Lane, Aldridge, the artwork features a variety of images, including the iconic Armed Forces Memorial, a grieving family and an aircraft. 

The students recently visited us to meet with a group of veterans who have experience of different conflicts. They interviewed the veterans about their memories of serving their country and went on a tour of the Arboretum to help inspire their montage.

Eleanor Durrant, one of the students who completed the artwork, said: “It was fascinating to talk to veterans about their experiences of serving their country and to learn what life was really like for them in times of conflict.

“We were thrilled to be given a giant blank canvas on which to illustrate veterans’ memories and we are very grateful to the veterans and the Arboretum for making this possible.”

Sarah Montgomery, Managing Director of the Arboretum, said: “The students have spent hours working on this project and we are very impressed with the finished result, which has turned the blank hoardings outside our visitor centre into a colourful and inspirational feature.

“The project is a wonderful example of the way in which the Arboretum can inspire students about historic events and citizenship by enabling them to capture and share memories of veterans who were part of it.”

The hoardings are in place while construction work is underway on a new Remembrance Centre which will inspire, inform and educate up to 500,000 visitors per year, including up to 25,000 schoolchildren on organised visits. The work will be part of £15.7m worth of improvements at the Arboretum.