Hereford & Worcester

SAS to be honoured with artwork at Hereford Cathedral

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Media captionThe Special Air Service is to be honoured with a £1m memorial

The Special Air Service (SAS) is to be honoured with a £1m memorial to mark a city's long association with the elite fighting force.

A stained glass window made of 3,000 pieces of coloured glass, along with a sculpture, will be unveiled at Hereford Cathedral in April 2017.

The work by John Maine will display the SAS motto Who Dares Wins.

The cathedral's dean said it would be "one of the most important pieces of new cathedral art in the world".

The Very Reverend Michael Tavinor said: "Its bold colours and inspirational message will be a breathtaking addition to our historic cathedral and will mark the unique link between Hereford and the SAS."

Image copyright Tom Maine
Image caption John Maine is creating the artwork to be ready for next April

Called Ascension, the project has been two years in the making and been funded through donations to the SAS Regimental Association, the charity for the SAS and their dependants.

The nine-metre (29ft) installation at the 1,300-year-old cathedral will also have the words 'Always a Little Further' engraved on the stonework.

The association said the words from the poem The Golden Journey to Samarkand, by James Elroy Fleckor, were adopted by 22 SAS in the 1960s and first appeared on Hereford's Clock Tower, which bears the names of those killed in operations.

Mr Maine said his work aims to "create unity" between light which streams through the cathedral's south-facing window and the wall below which was "cast into darkness".

He said: "I hoped to create a place of stillness in the cathedral, where soldiers and their families could pause and contemplate. The work should also inspire and offer a sense of resolution."

The SAS, which began life in the Western Desert in 1941, set up bases in Herefordshire in the 1950s and trained across the Brecon Beacons and mid-Wales.

Image caption One of the window's panels has been brought into the cathedral

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