It has been announced that a new statue commemorating the end of the First World War will be unveiled in Manchester this October…

The statue, of seven blinded First World War soldiers, will be permanently placed outside Manchester Piccadilly Station as a memorial to the injured of that conflict. Commissioned by military charity Blind Veterans UK, the statue, entitled Victory Over Blindness, depicts the seven soldiers after losing their sight, marching with their hand on the shoulder of the man in front.

Blind Veterans UK was founded more than 100 years ago to support those blinded in the First World War. Now, the charity supports veterans regardless of when they served or how they lost their sight. ‘Victory over blindness’ is a phrase first used by the founder, Sir Arthur Pearson, and continues to guide the charity’s principles. They supported more than 3,000 WW1 blind veterans with rehabilitation and training allowing them to achieve victory over blindness.

Speaking about the statue, Chief Executive of Blind Veterans UK, Major General (Rtd) Nick Caplin CB, said: “Helping blind veterans achieve victory over blindness is the cornerstone of everything we do, and have always done, at Blind Veterans UK. In 2018 victory over blindness means enabling blind veterans to lead the lives they choose.

“Blind Veterans UK enables ex-Service men and women to rebuild their lives after sight loss through free services and lifelong practical and emotional support. The statue demonstrates the life-changing impact the charity has had over the last 103 years. It is our way of commemorating the centenary of the end of the First World War and recognising the amazing work achieved by our veterans at that time and ever since.”

The sculpture was conceived and designed by artist and sculptress Johanna Domke-Guyot and 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 also been made possible thanks to the support of Network Rail.

Johanna said: “It’s been a very long journey and I underestimated how emotional I would feel about the whole process. The time I’ve had with these seven figures over these years and seeing them come to life has been really amazing. Bringing them to life again in a bronze that will last for years and years is overwhelming. People will be able to touch them, I want it to become a people’s piece.”

The seven First World War blind veterans will stand proudly outside Manchester Piccadilly Station and will be the only permanent memorial in the UK marking the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.