On 13 November, 2005, a new war memorial was unveiled on Cleator Moor square – this memorial, designed by Colin Telfer, was a statue of a wounded soldier being attended to by a nurse. It was dedicated to those from the area, that had made sacrifices in all conflicts.
Mr Telfer sadly passed away in 2016, but his work lives on across Cumbria and even Northern Ireland. He created statues bigger than himself in a studio that more closely resembled a large, untidy garden shed, tucked out of sight in a yard in a back street of Maryport.
His sculptures captured real people in real jobs caught in a moment of time – a three dimensional snapshot from the albums of any Cumbrian family.
Colin’s figures start life as a wooden framework, covered in foam filler, then clay. They are sanded, rubbed down with wire wool then finished with Colin’s own-recipe coating mixture which contains graphite and slate powder and polishes up to a gleaming finish.
There are a number of memorials across Cleator Moor, commemorating the war dead, but the townsfolk wanted one central point of remembrance for all conflicts.
Around the time of the Millennium (1999 / 2000) there had been discussions as to what form any memorial should take, where it should be located and whether any such memorial should list the names of the townsfolk who died in the two World Wars.
Eventually, it was decided a new War Memorial should be commissioned, and that it should be sited in a prominent location in Cleator Moor Square, right in the town centre next to the various civic buildings. It was also decided not to put any specific names on the memorial, for various reasons. For example, sometimes a person is accidentally missed off any such list and this can cause additional unnecessary distress for any relatives of that person. Also, it was decided that although most people still focus on the World Wars, particularly at Remembrance time, the memorial should be dedicated in such a way that it commemorated the sacrifices made in all conflicts.
Part of the dedication involved an ecumenical service in Cleator Moor Methodist Church. It was conducted by the Free Church Minister, Reverend Nan Pryde, and also involved the Reverend Andy McCarthy (Anglican) and Reverend Father Jim Burns (Roman Catholic). The names of the known casualties from the Cleator Moor area in both World Wars were read out at the service.
In addition to the veterans of World War Two and other conflicts, young people of the area were involved in the service. In fact, the parade around the Town Square was led by the local Army Cadets and Whitehaven Sea Cadets. Representatives from both these groups laid poppy wreaths at the Memorial during the dedication service at the Memorial.
The memorial depicts a nurse treating a seated wounded soldier in World War One uniform. In front of the two figures is a tablet on which is written the following inscription:
To the Glory of God,
and to remember the sacrifices given by those to all conflicts.