Excited crowds filled the streets of the town of Bushmills on Tuesday to see the bronze sculpture of Robert Quigg V.C. unveiled by Her Majesty the Queen.
The statue has been erected by the Robert Quigg V.C. Commemoration Society in honour of the local war hero who saved the lives of seven men almost a century ago, on 1 July 1916 at the Battle of the Somme.
The Queen was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh and the Royal couple received a tremendous welcome from the huge crowd which had gathered. The ceremony took place at noon and also included the unveiling of a commemorative stone, hundreds of which are being laid across the UK in honour of those servicemen awarded the Victoria Cross medal during the First World War.
The Robert Quigg V.C. Commemoration Society began fundraising for the bronze sculpture in 2012 and have raised almost £60,000. The sculpture has been created by David Annand (www.davidannand.com) and has been funded by generous contributions from individuals, groups and organisations of the Causeway area and beyond.
Leonard Quigg, a great nephew of Robert Quigg V.C. and Chairman of the Society, played a major role in the historic ceremony. “It was an honour to have our Royal guests here on this important day and the people of Bushmills will remember this occasion for many years to come. The Queen and Prince Philip both met Robert Quigg V.C. during the Coronation Tour in 1953 and it is a wonderful gesture that they chose to be here today to join us. The Society would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to the sculpture fund. The success of this project has been beyond the expectations of the Society and I hope everyone enjoyed the ceremony.”
Robert Thompson, founding member and President of the Society said: “The centenary of the beginning of the Battle of the Somme is a time when we remember the sacrifice made by our local men. I am extremely grateful to Her Majesty and Prince Philip for coming to our town to share our commemoration and honour our courageous hero, Robert Quigg V.C.”
The statue was sculpted from bronze by David Annand and installed by contractor Ian McKay of Bushmills.