Belfast Telegraph

Princess Anne sees statue of bombing hero Sefton unveiled

By Tom Pugh

The Princess Royal has viewed a life-size bronze of a horse which became a symbol of the struggle against the IRA after surviving the deadly 1982 Hyde Park bomb.

Anne (below) was shown the bronze of Sefton at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) in North Mymms, Hertfordshire, its sculptor Camilla Le May said.

The visit took place after accomplished horsewoman Anne had to abandon the official unveiling last October because fog grounded her flight.

The bronze was funded by leading industrialist Lord Ballyedmond – Eddie Haughey, Northern Ireland's wealthiest entrepreneur and head of Norbrook Laboratories – who died last month along with three others in a helicopter crash in Gillingham, Norfolk.

Household Cavalry horse Sefton captured the nation's hearts during his recovery from the IRA blast which killed seven of his stablemates and four soldiers.

It is believed his life was saved by a guardsman who ripped off his shirt and used it to staunch the flow of blood to his neck wound.

Veterinary surgeons gave Sefton a 50/50 chance of surviving the shock and extreme blood loss, but the animal recovered after surgery which saw nearly 30 pieces of shrapnel extracted from his body.

During his treatment, Sefton received thousands of gifts from the public and he was back on regimental duty less than three months later.

The RVC's artist in residence Ms Le May (40) sculpted the black gelding walking briskly, in a creation weighing three quarters of a ton.

Vets from the RVC and those who knew Sefton helped Ms Le May capture his likeness and get his gait and anatomy right.

On the royal visit, Ms Le May, from Wadhurst, East Sussex, said: "It has meant so much. To complete this first life-size work was, for me, a major achievement.

"I still look at it in slight disbelief that it is my work. However, I could not have managed it alone.

"It is always a team effort with such large works and without Alec Ryman's team, who made the armature and assisted with the scale up and Atelier Fine Art Castings who cast the bronze, it would not have been possible."

BACKGROUND

After joining the Army, Sefton became a riding school horse before joining the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

He finally retired from the Household Cavalry in August 1984 and was moved to a sanctuary in Buckinghamshire.

Sefton was put down at the age of 30 in July 1993 due to lameness – a complication of the injuries he suffered due to the bombing.

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