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Kedington Air Memorial Group's appeal boosted by sculptor's special appearance




Suffolk artist Sean Hedges-Quinn's guest-of-honour appearance at a fund-raiser in Kedington has boosted an appeal to provide a special Second World War memorial in the village.

For the last three years, the community, led by The Kedington Air Memorial Group, has been fundraising to create a memorial, commemorating the five WWII plane crashes in Kedington, that left 22 men dead.

Residents of the Kedington area, politicians, historians and art-lovers came together at the British Legion Hall to listen to Sean, the Suffolk sculptor engaged to create the commemorative bronze sculpture.

Kevin Betts, left, and artist Sean Hedges-Quinn with the painting by Jock Whitehouse that was auctioned. Contributed picture
Kevin Betts, left, and artist Sean Hedges-Quinn with the painting by Jock Whitehouse that was auctioned. Contributed picture

The audience came to learn about Sean’s commitment to the project, the process of his art, and his many, many entertaining stories of how capturing the likeness of the good, great and influential, requires determination, detective-work, physical strength, passionate commitment and of course, a large quota of artistic skill.

From Sir Bobby Robson, to Captain Mainwaring, to suffragette heroines – Sean explained how getting under the skin of the subject, understanding them as a character as well as every detail of their physical make-up, resulted in artwork that everyone can relate to.

His early career in set, prop and model making for the film industry provided the springboard to becoming a sculptor, and his love of football, ordinary heroes and of course, Suffolk, have led to him becoming a well-respected, much-admired and genuinely accessible artist.

Cllr Tony Brown (left), Kevin Betts and the Mayor of Haverhill, Cllr John Burns at the event in the Kedington British Legion Hall. Contributed picture
Cllr Tony Brown (left), Kevin Betts and the Mayor of Haverhill, Cllr John Burns at the event in the Kedington British Legion Hall. Contributed picture

Kevin Betts, who organised the event explained: “I have to say that getting Sean to take on the project has been amazing.

"I wasn’t sure he would be interested – but from the very first day, he has embraced the project with enthusiasm and commitment.

"The interest and support of local people, businesses and those connected with the story from all over the world, has enabled us to bring to Kedington, (which some may consider a “backwater” of Suffolk) a work of art of international artistic acclaim."

Sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn with the Kedington Air Memorial that he is now working on in his studio at the Old Astra Cinema, Great Bricett. Picture by Mark Westley
Sculptor Sean Hedges-Quinn with the Kedington Air Memorial that he is now working on in his studio at the Old Astra Cinema, Great Bricett. Picture by Mark Westley

An auction of artefacts raised in excess of £1,000 and the headline item, an oil painting by Jock Whitehouse, was purchased by a syndicate and then donated to the Kedington British Legion Hall.

Councillor John Burns, Mayor of Haverhill was in attendance along with former mayor, Cllr Tony Brown.

“The importance of this project has impressed the council and we want to support this unique initiative which reflects so clearly the spirit and strength of our wider community,” said Cllr Burns.

The group still needs to raise funds to produce the bronze artwork, and hope that this initiative will be just one of many to celebrate the heart, soul and quiet strength of Suffolk.

To donate to the group click HEREor call Marion Farrant on 07833 431184. Cheques can be made payable to Kedington Air Memorial Group.


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