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Thursday, 06 March 2014

Heritage Lottery Fund Award confirmed

The Dunsden Owen Association, in conjunction with arts company Outrider Anthems, has been awarded a substantial Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant of £22,800 to make its proposed Wilfred Owen Trail a reality. Owen, the great First World War poet, spent two formative years of his life in the Oxfordshire village of Dunsden as assistant to the vicar of All Saints’ Church, before abandoning thoughts of a religious calling to follow his poetic vocation. In 1918 he lost his young life in the war, one week before Armistice.

Jennifer Leach, joint Chair of the Dunsden Owen Association, and Director of Outrider Anthems, says of the award: “The generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund enables us to celebrate this unique connection with one of England’s greatest war poets. We plan to develop the Dunsden trail as a Smartphone app and an online trail, and will base it on the compelling letters Owen wrote home during his time here. There will be alternative formats for non-technically minded visitors.”

John Bodman, also of the Association, adds, “There will be a number of additional events between 2014-18, including a memorial concert in November 2014, some inspiring new musical commissions by the A440 choir and local composer David Breeze, a new work by Jennifer Leach of Outrider Anthems, and the marking of a cultural friendship link with Ors in France, where Owen was killed.”

Stuart McLeod, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said: “Through his poetry and letters, Wilfred Owen painted a vivid picture of the atrocities of the First World War. He put pen to paper to express his feelings of anger at the cruelty he’d witnessed, giving us a rare glimpse at the changing conditions for local people in the run-up to the conflict. We’re proud to be supporting this project that, in the run-up to World Poetry Day later in March, will enable local people to learn about, remember and record this part of Owen’s tragically short life and explore the moving work he created.”

The Association is hoping that visitors to Dunsden will be spurred on to read Owen’s poetry, which includes some of the most honest and compelling war poems ever written.

For further information, visit our website www.owenindunsden.org.

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