BELFAST NEWSLETTER Published Date: 14 January 2011 Sculpture set to mark courage of UDR The UDR, whose successor the RIR was presented with the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross by the Queen in 2006, is to be honoured with a new sculpture in Lisburn A SCULPTURE dedicated to the memory of all those who served with the Ulster Defence Regiment is being erected in the Co Antrim town where the regiment was formed. Described as "heroic" in stature, the 19ft monument features a pair of bronze figures on a Mourne granite plinth and is due to be unveiled in Lisburn city centre in the spring. The two bronzes capture the image of a male UDR soldier and a female 'Greenfinch' on operational duty. Whiteabbey-based sculptor John Sherlock was commissioned by the UDR Memorial Trust to work on the project and recently travelled to Edinburgh to oversee the final casting process. The internationally-renowned artist's other recent public works include life-size bronzes of Professor Frank Pantridge, Harry Ferguson, and a large scale bronze relief tribute to the RUC at FBI headquarters in Washington. "Everyone involved in the Lisburn sculpture has put their heart and soul into it and I couldn't have had a better group to work for," Mr Sherlock said. "I don't think I could have got a better commission for a more justifiable project I hope it strengthens the resolve of all those who served." It has been almost two years since the original concept was devised, with Lisburn chosen due to its close association with the UDR. The regiment was formed there in 1970. Lt Colonel Wesley Duncan is one of those behind the initiative to erect the 19ft bronze monument. The UDR Memorial Trust chairman of trustees said work on the project is "in the finishing stages". "The plinth has already been constructed and is on site in Lisburn in Market Square. Of the two figures, the Greenfinch is complete at the foundry in Edinburgh and the soldier is almost complete." Lt Col Duncan said the memorial was dedicated to all who served with the regiment. "The memorial is to recognise the service of over 50,000 people over the years not just those who died or were injured. "This initiative came from ex-members to have a memorial erected... and the primary driving force has been the members of the regimental association. "We believe it will be a ?tting tribute to their dedication to duty, courage and the stress which it brought to their families." The chair of trustees added: "The regiment was formed in Lisburn, and it is appropriate therefore that the memorial is being erected there. The trustees are delighted and grateful that Lisburn City Council have granted permission for the memorial to be erected on a prominent site in Market Square." Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he was delighted the city had been chosen due to its "strong connection" with the regiment. A former UDR member, Mr Donaldson said: "The people of Lisburn will be very proud of this statue which is being erected to commemorate the enormous sacrifice and the invaluable contribution made by the men and women of the UDR in bringing peace to Northern Ireland." Basil McCrea, of the Ulster Unionists, also paid tribute to the UDR and said it was fitting that a city with "such a strong military tradition" should honour the regiment. The Lagan Valley MLA added: "It's only right and proper that those who have served the community so well get their due recognition." In September 2007 the city erected a separate tribute to eight UDR soldiers from the Lisburn area who made the ultimate sacrifice. Sitting in the shadow of the main war memorial in Castle Street, the Ulster Defence Regiment memorial stone includes the name of Maynard Crawford a part-time UDR sergeant murdered by the IRA in 1972 as he sat in a van on a Newtownabbey building site. Sgt Crawford was the brother of local Ulster Unionist councillor Ronnie Crawford and was the first Lisburn member of the regiment to be killed.