LIVERPOOL'S bombed out church is to host the unveiling of a sculpture that captures a remarkable moment during World War One: the mythical front-line football match on Christmas Day 1914.
The building, itself a lasting monument to the 1941 Blitz on Liverpool, will be draped in football scarves from clubs around the world for the event.
It will take place on December 15, the same day as a star-studded charity remake of the Farm's single All Together Now is released.
The statue, also titled All Together Now, shows two soldiers, one British, the other German, greeting each other. At their side a football.
The news comes just a week after Sainsbury’s dominated the conversation of the nation with its Christmas advert featuring the very same football match.
But Liverpool workshop Castle Fine Arts has been working flat out for far longer to cast the work in resin at its workshop in the Baltic Triangle for the unveiling on December 15.
It is a tribute by sculptor Andy Edwards to the Christmas truce when soldiers on both sides along the Western Front were said to have laid down their guns, swapping gifts, cigars, jokes and playing football.
After a week on display in Liverpool the statue will be taken to the area near Flanders where that impromptu game took place. A pitch will be marked out with the scarves to enable a commemoration match to take place.
The plan is to take the work to Germany in the new year, with a campaign to raise around £100,000 to have the resin-finished sculpture cast in bronze as a permanent peace tribute.
Sculptor Edwards started work on it several years ago after discussing a possible tribute by the Football Association on the centenary of the start of World War One.
Although a quarter-sized version was completed by Edwards, the commission for a full sized work never materialised.
Instead Edwards and Castle Fine Arts decided to do the work at their own expense, as "the people’s tribute to that remarkable Christmas truce".
A meeting with Liverpool creative activist Tom Calderbank, credited with helping save the Florrie, Toxteth Town Hall and other historic landmarks, led to the plan to make St Luke’s church, on Leece St, the epicentre of an amazing “peace on Earth” event.
Calderbank told Liverpool Confidential: “Since our first meeting, this project has just grown and grown. There is no doubt Andy’s work will become a world-famous work of art, and the journey starting in our bombed out church is just incredible.
"We are calling for world peace."
Through the Farm’s frontman, Peter Hooton, Calderbank has been given hundreds of scarves used to form a human peace chain across Stanley Park, linking Anfield and Goodison is a show of solidarity by football fans. They will be draped around the Leece Street church.
For the unveiling, he is appealing for fans to donate more. He also wants local children to make peace lanterns out of jam jars. These will be used to illuminate the church during the sculpture’s display there.
Earlier this week, he and Castle Fine Art director Chris Butler travelled to Brussels where they discussed the project with MEPs and EU officials, as well as diplomatic staff from Germany.
Edwards said: “The sculpture is a call to be brave. To give up notions of safety behind established lines and step out in trust of one another’s humanity, regardless of ideas of nation, race, religion, colour or creed.
“It celebrates that auspicious occasion when soldiers from either side of a conflict which bore 37 million casualties put aside their fear, hunger, anger and sorrow, and shared gifts - including the most famous game of football ever played.
“In 2014, this anniversary year, we call for a truce in that spirit once again. That cause must never be forgotten. We will exhibit the sculpture in Liverpool before parading it all the way to Flanders in a pilgrimage to remember.”
St Luke's church after the BlitzCalderbank added: “It will be a symbol of peace and hope and a call for a renewed worldwide cessation of violence in honour of those brave boys who joined together and decided not to fight.”
The Castle Fine Art Foundry, based near Oswestry with a workshop in Liverpool, is one of the UK’s leading art foundries working with artists for 25 years, the company has been responsible for manufacturing and delivering sculpture projects all around the world.
Director Chris Butler said: “We are proud to have cast a number of war memorials over the years. We are honoured to support this sculpture for peace. I believe it will touch the hearts of millions.
“When we travelled to the EU to discuss our project the response and enthusiasm we received was overwhelming.”
Football scarves should be sent to: ALL TOGETHER NOW, c/o Tom Calderbank, Castle Fine Arts, 48-60 Bridgewater St, Liverpool, L1 0AY.
Stars line up to sing on All Together Now remake
Peter Hooton of the Farm was inspired by that famous Flanders football match to write All Together Now, first released by the Farm in 1990. The new version is being released on December 15 by the Peace Collective, and as well as The Farm will feature many of the UK’s pop stars with a choir made up of young people from the English Premier League and Germany’s Bundesliga league.
Hooton says: “Those remarkable events at Christmas, 1914, were a spontaneous act of humanity that transcended the horrors and barbarity of World War One and is a story which still resonates 100 years on. It is a story of hope and peace which should be told over and over again. I’m so very proud that so many artistes from all styles of music and the football authorities have come together to promote peace and reconciliation this Christmas and raise funds for the brilliant work carried out by the British Red Cross and Shorncliffe Trust.”
Stars confirmed to appear on the new recording include Alexandra Burke, Guy Chambers, Gorgon City, Gabrielle, The Proclaimers, Engelbert Humperdinck, Holly Johnson, John Power (Cast), Jah Wobble (PiL), Jane McDonald, I Am Kloot, Shara Nelson (Massive Attack), Amelle Berrabah (The Sugababes), the winner of The Voice 2014, Jermain Jackman, and The Farm themselves, with many more to be confirmed.
Strings and brass on the track are provided by the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA) where Farm drummer Keith Mullin is a lecturer.
Text GET PEACE to 84222. Track sent on 15/12/2014
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Twitter: @PeaceForXmas (http://twitter.com/peaceforxmas)