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Friends of the Project – Nigel McCrerey

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Born in London in 1953, Nigel McCrery travelled extensively during his childhood as his father was a Sergeant in the RAF.

They eventually settled in Toton, Nottingham and in 1978 Nigel joined the Nottinghamshire Constabulary, but had to retire in 1987 after an injury.

He then became a student at Trinity College, Cambridge, reading History. Armed with his degree, he was accepted onto the BBC graduate entry course.

In 1992 Nigel moved to the BBC drama department and since then has written or been responsible for a number of highly successful BBC series and films including ‘Silent Witness’, ‘New Tricks’ and ‘All the King’s Men’. He lives in Nottingham.

51ItN96yHrL._SX345_BO1,204,203,200_ Into Touch

Many thousands of men died during the Great War. They came from every place and class.

The very cream of the Nation joined up thinking it a great adventure but, all too often, never returned.

Nigel’s book is dedicated to the memory of an elite few of such men – the Rugby Internationals who fell in The Great War. Among the hundreds of thousands who served and died for their country were one hundred and thirty Rugby Internationals.

To place the loss of these men in perspective, it is important to appreciate that Rugby Union was, arguably, bigger in its day than soccer is today. It attracted men from every walk of life. Many became national icons just as David Beckham and Wayne Rooney are now.

These were men whose names were common currency in almost every household in Britain; men who were widely admired and emulated.

 Yet their physical strength, fitness, prowess and courage made these heroes no less vulnerable to enemy bullets, shells and mines than their less celebrated comrades-in-arms.

One hundred years on, Nigel decided that any player who perished, whether he had won a single cap for his country or a hundred, would be included within this book.

Into Touch encapsulated the magnitude of a generation’s sacrifice. Thanks to the Author’s research into these players’ service for their country, both on the playing field and battlefield, it will fascinate all with an interest in The Great War and, most particularly, those with a love for The Glorious Game and its history.

Press Release

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Heroes of Yesterday Raising Funds for Heroes of Today.

On the 1 July 1916, the whistle blew and 19240 men went over the top and lost their lives in the first 4 hours of the Battle of the Somme, a number that remains the worst casualty figure for one day in British military history to date.

Robert Heard, a South West artist, was inspired and moved by the fate of these brave men following life-changing events of his own. With the support and vision of his friend Steve Knightley, of the musical group, Show of Hands, the 19240 Shrouds of the Somme idea was born and presented to the City of Exeter.

The 19240 project was officially launched at the Guildhall, Exeter, the oldest, still working, civic building in the country, supported by VIP members of the community, including the Lord Mayor, City Councillors, senior business partners. The Royal British Legion and The Exeter Foundation are the major charity beneficiaries.

Robert Heard is working to personally create all 19240 shrouded figures to build an art installation and permanent sculpture of major impact, to represent each one of the men who fell on July 1st 1916 for us all to commemorate their bravery, to raise charitable funds for our military hero’s of today.

On July 1st 2016, at 7.30am, the gates of Northernhay Gardens in Exeter, will be opened to the public to reveal for the first time this major art installation, designed to stir compassion and understanding of the tragic events that happened in 1916.

‘This project is all about remembrance for those who lost their lives at the Battle Of The Somme and the Great War. It’s also about inspiring communities and creating a legacy for the future. Thirdly, this is about creating an educational resource that can be accessed by anyone interested in learning more about the events in July 1916 .Our evolving website will include the most comprehensive database of the men who fell on the first day of the battle. We envisage the site becoming a major lasting legacy and resource.’ Explained Jake Moores, OBE DL, President of the Royal British Legion Devon.

The project will be fundraising throughout the next 11 months including a major Commemorative Dinner & Entertainment Evening to be held in the city on October 30th 2015, to help raise the money to fund the creation of the installation as well as providing funds to our major beneficiaries and local and national military charities.

To find out how to get involved in this amazing project and search for a family member, please visit www.thesomme19240.co.uk


Editors Notes

  1. Robert Heard is an emerging artist based in the South West with a strong affinity with Exeter. Robert suffered injuries after a serious car crash in which has prevented him working as a wood sculptor. Facing the consequences of his injuries, he became interested in the Somme and became inspired to commemorate the fallen while enduring the pain in his hands that stitching the shrouds will cause.
  2. Steve Knightley – is the founder and musical artist from the folk band Show of Hands. Show of Hands are undeniably one of the strongest current forces in acoustic music – England’s finest and most popular roots duo and something of a “people’s band”.
  3. The Exeter Foundation is a charity based at Exeter Chiefs, Sandy Park, created to provide the city of Exeter and surrounding areas with a ‘civic trust’ that will promote our community. The Foundation acts as a fundraising body, comprises leading businessmen led by Tony Rowe, OBE of South West Telecommunications and has raised over £600k to date for community based projects.
  4. The 19240 Shrouds of the Somme committee is led by Mr. Jake Moores, OBE, DL. President of the Royal British Legion Devon.
  5. Project launch images available on request.


Committee Members are:

Robert Heard – Artist

Capt. William Kelsall RCMO – 6th Battalion Rifles

Steve Knightley – Show of Hands

John Street – Corporate Manager Democratic & Civic Support, Exeter City Council

Emara Roth – Lord Mayor Support Officer, Exeter City Council

Very Rev’d Dr Jonathon Draper – Dean of Exeter Cathedral

Prof Henry French BA PhD Cantab, FRHistS – Exeter University

Grace Williams – Exeter University

Adam Stone – Rokk Media

Mel Bradley MBE

Media contact:

Alexis Bowater
Bowater Communications
T: 07786 362454
E: Alexis@Bowatercommunications.co.uk

Launch of 19240 Shrouds of The Somme at Exeter Guildhall

Official launch

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Twelve months to the day since conception and after many hours of careful planning, 19240 Shrouds of The Somme was officially launched in a ceremony at Exeter Guildhall in April 2015.

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