April -There But Not There

Have you heard of the There But Not There campaign? At the moment I find very few people have. It is a charity campaign to commemorate 100 years since the end of WW1. It’s a bit like the Poppies in the Tower of London but not so visible. Instead of poppies there are silhouettes, some large public ones of the iconic Tommy outline but also some ‘seated’ silhouettes for local communities and individuals to bring those who died back into their communities.

I have always had a big interest in WW1 as my mother’s much loved brother, Will, fought throughout the war and sadly died at the end of September 1918. Other uncles fought as well including my Uncle Tom who survived Passchendaele. As a child WW1 was still very real to my family.

As soon as I heard about the campaign I knew the ideal place for a Tommy – the seat outside Foulsyke which looks towards Great Gable which itself was given to the National Trust in 1923 by the Fell and Rock Climbing Club in memory of those members who died. Many of you, I expect, will have seen the memorial on the top of Gable.

The seat is a bit open to the elements so my silhouette had to be firmly anchored – he is screwed into the bench and looks amazing – he really is there but not there. When there is dew overnight, he picks up condensation and is a ghostly white. The condensation gradually evaporates and the white shape becomes smaller till he disappears.

What a brilliant concept!