ACTOR Jim Carter, perhaps best known for his portrayal of butler Mr Carson in ITV’s hit drama Downton Abbey, has become a patron of an incredible art remembrance installation.

Planned for November 2018 to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War, The Shrouds of the Somme will see 72,396 shrouded figures laid out shoulder-to-shoulder to represent each of the Servicemen killed at the Battle of the Somme, many of whose bodies were never recovered from the battlefields.

Jim (pictured right) explained that he first encountered the “acutely moving depiction of loss and remembrance” last summer while taking part in a moving recital to commemorate the centenary of the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

He added: “Artist Rob Heard had created 19,240 individually shrouded figures, each about 12 inches tall, and laid them out in symmetrical lines that seemed to stretch forever in an Exeter park. Alongside this memorial was a tent with lists of names of those 19,240 figures – all those who had lost their lives on the first day of the Battle of the Somme.

“When The Last Post was played over those figures, over those lists, over those lost lives it was one of the most moving depictions of loss and the folly of war that one could have imagined.

“The scale of Rob’s task is unimaginable but then so is the scale of the loss of life 100 years ago. This artwork is stunning because it represents grief in such a graphic manner and it gives those lost lives a name and a place in our memories forever. I support this project and would urge others to support it too in the hope that devastation like this will never happen again. We will remember them.”

Rob is crowdfunding to pay for the materials to create the exhibition. To give him your support, go to www.shroudsofthesomme.com

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