Pembrokeshire artist's pride as war memorial is unveiled

Enter the dragon: Lee Odishow with his model for the Belgian war memorial sculpture. (9593450)

Memorial unveiled: The magnificent red bronze dragon tops a cromlech of Welsh stone. (9593457)

First published in News by

A PEMBROKESHIRE artist who designed a red bronze dragon which stands proudly on a new war memorial has seen his creation unveiled in Belgium.

Lee Odishow, originally from Tenby, won the commission for the design, which sits atop a Welsh stone cromlech.

The unveiling ceremony in the Flanders village of Langemark was carried out by Wales’ First Minister, Carwyn Jones.

It is dedicated to all those from Wales who took part in the First World War and is the first national memorial outside Wales.

Lee, aged 31, who now lives near Llanelli, is a former student of Coleg Sir Gar, Carmarthen, where he is now a student mentor.

His six-foot dragon design - chosen by Sculpture Wales from four submissions - was described as ‘fearsome and handsome’ by David Alson, arts director of the Arts Council of Wales.

The dedication and unveiling of the memorial is the culmination of several years campaigning and fundraising by the Welsh Memorial in Flanders Campaign Group, which has had a shortfall of up to £25,000 met by the Welsh Government.

Soil gathered from the summits of Snowdon and Pen y Fan and Yr Ysgwrn - the home of Welsh poet Hedd Wyn, who was killed in the First World War - was placed at the base of the memorial as part of the dedication ceremony.

The First Minister also laid a wreath with a hand-written message on behalf of the people of Wales.

Mr Jones said that the memorial was ‘a mark of respect and remembrance for all those from Wales who faced unimaginable adversity here.

“The sacrifices they made and the freedom for which they strived for is why we must continue to pay tribute.”

He congratulates everyone involved in the campaign, and added: “This impressive monument is testament to the enduring need to continue to strive for peace in our own time.”

The ceremony was attended by hundreds of guests, including local residents who hold a monthly remembrance ceremony for soldiers who lost their lives in the area during the First World War, and the Prime Minister’s special representative for the Centenary Commemoration of the First World War, Dr Andrew Munson MP.

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