Today (16th October), The Countess of Wessex visited Piccadilly Station in Manchester where HRH unveiled Victory Over Blindness statue – the only permanent memorial to the injured of the First World War. The statue, by artist and sculptress Johanna Domke-Guyot, commemorates the centenary of the First World War and the inspirational blind veterans supported by the charity, Blind Veterans UK, of which HRH is Patron.
The statue depicts seven blinded First World War soldiers leading one another away from the battlefield with their hand on the shoulder of the man in front. The Imperial War Museum’s War Memorials Register currently holds the records of 77,000 memorials in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man. Of these, none (till today) depicted a disabled service person. According to the charity, there was no more appropriate location for this statue.
The convalescent camp at Heaton Park in Manchester treated and trained thousands of wounded First World War soldiers and sailors, including many with sight loss. Victory Over Blindness statue has been funded by the generous donations of The Gosling Foundation as well as other individuals and organisations. The location of the statue at Manchester Piccadilly has been made possible thanks to the support of Network Rail and Transport for Manchester.
Afterwards, as Patron of Blind Veterans UK, The Countess of Wessex attended a Reception at the Great Hall in Manchester. Blind Veterans UK was founded to support the 3,000 veterans blinded by the First World War. Today the charity supports 4,700 ex-servicemen and women and aims to reach another 50,000 who are eligible for their help.
Later, HRH as Patron of National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, visited the Hargreaves Centre in Liverpool, Merseyside. Last year the centre celebrated the 10th anniversary. To learn more info, please check the article at the Liverpool Echo, click here.
Outfit & jewellery:
Prada coat with matching dress. Sophie had this duo for a few years now.
Starfish earrings by Heavenly Necklaces.
Clutch by Sophie Habsburg.
Pumps, not sure.