Volunteers improve sight behind Great War statue

Volunteers improve sight behind Great War statue

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A mound near a train station in Smethwick has seen a massive improvement as volunteers have cleaned up the area immediately behind the ‘Lions of the Great War’ statue on the High Street.

Just by the Rolfe Street Train Station is home to the water feature, Boulton and Watt’s Governor Sculpture, pathways, seating and a circle of trees.

With the support of Sandwell Council, volunteers from Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Smethwick cleared the paved area which was partially covered in overgrowth and moss. The benches have also been cleaned, with the steel sculpture renovated and repainted.

The fountain, which was replaced by the Gurdwara in 2018, has also been pumped out and cleaned.

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick’s Jatinder Singh said: “The ‘Lions of the Great War’ honours all those brave people from South Asia who served and died in the two World Wars.

Together with the newly-created paved public space, it also provides a stunning and symbolic gateway to Smethwick”.

Councillor Bob Lloyd, Sandwell Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Culture, said: “This is a wonderful example of community volunteers working with the Council to improve the area and keep it looking clean and tidy.

“As the backdrop to the awe-inspiring ‘Lions of the Great War’ statue and public space, this is an area that has considerable significance for the Gurdwara and wider community. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved and volunteered their time.”

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick commissioned Black Country sculptor Luke Perry to create the statue to honour the sacrifices made by South Asian service personnel of all faiths from the Indian subcontinent who fought for Britain in the Great War and other conflicts.

The gurdwara covered the cost of designing and building the statue, while Sandwell Council worked closely with the gurdwara to create a paved public space with seating and lighting.

Millions of men from the Indian subcontinent fought in the two world wars, serving in the British Indian Army. Most never visited the country they were fighting for, yet many sacrificed their lives on the battlefield or afterwards.

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