On Wednesday 28 September 2022, The Town Mayor Leeroy Scott and Ben Shephard (television personality), Cllr Mike Steevens (main organiser) and County Cllr Andy Tree who helped by awarding grant funding, attended the opening ceremony for the official unveiling of “Woody’s Walk” in front of Brian Wood and his friends and family. Pupils from Woodlea School walked Brian towards the mural which is located in the underpass near Café 1759.
Brian Wood MC veteran has raised more than £168,000 after completing 25 marathons in 25 days in aid of the Armed Forces. He was a former solider in the Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, where during his service in Iraq, he led the first bayonet charge in 25 years in the battle of Danny Boy, he was awarded the Military Cross for gallantry. The mural, Woody’s Walk, was commissioned in recognition of what his achievements mean to his friends, family and residents of the town. Administrative support for the commissioning of the mural was provided by Whitehill Town Council’s Town Clerk Lorraine Jeffs.
Councillor Mike Steevens was approached by a local resident Karsten Waller who came up with the initial idea to do the mural, in conjunction with local artist Ryan Brudenell who between them came up with a design plan.
Mike has worked tirelessly on this project to include getting the sponsorship donations together by approaching successful local business, people he knows through working as a taxi driver for nearly 30 years.
Sponsorship Support for the mural (Woody’s Walk):
- Motor Parts Direct – Sam Hawkins
- Blackmoor Golf Club
- Instal air con – Darren Cox
- Brosley Roofing – Allan Keet
- Tasty Buns & Passfield Stores – Jason Toovey
- Strudwick Property Services – Nick Strudwick
- Telfair Construction Danny Mc Garry & Russ Smith
- Forest Motors – Tom and Kevan Shackleton,
- AJL cars – Mike Steevens, Alison & Ken
- Boxhall Roofing – Bob Kingshott & Tim Harrington
- 2020 scaffolding
- Andy Pullen did the undercoat and glaze
- Southdowns Signs – Hannah Caughey
- County Councillor grant funding awarded by Cllr Andy Tree
- Abri Café 1759 – Provided the refreshments for the opening ceremony
- Alliance facilities management Adrian and Hilary Hollis
Mike would like to thank the local artist Ryan Brudenell who had the vision, created the designs and has put lots of hours into painting the mural.
Quote from Brian Wood:
“For me it’s a just real honour, I never expected such a tribute I don’t think I deserve it to be honest and coming out and seeing so many members of the community, it’s just overwhelming but I’m very humbled and have so much gratitude and can only say thank you.”
Quote from Ben Shephard:
“It’s a privilege to be here, it’s brilliant to see him getting emotional and lost for words (and that doesn’t often happen) but I think it is testament to how important Brian has been to the community, how proud everybody is of what he has achieved. The ultimate sacrifice challenge he did last year was extraordinary and what he is stepping up to do this year is bigger and I think that Ryan has caught Brian’s image brilliantly in this mural and it makes I really special. If you are walking through this underpass you might walk through without thinking and you come across the mural, you are going see the pictures and ask questions about who it’s for and what it is and see the poppies. I just think for a community like this where the military is so important it’s such a wonderful tribute.”
Quote from Cllr M Steevens:
“I wanted to unite the community after the last couple of years and to show we have a great community spirit. This shows what can be achieved through perseverance both from what Brian has shown in his achievements and what a community can do.”
Quote from County Councillor Andy Tree:
“The Mural from Brian Wood MC has only become a reality as a direct result of the hard work and determination from Cllr Mike Steevens over a good number of months. It is Mike who went out and found the funding, organised the drawings and made today happen.”
Please follow the link below for a video of the unveiling and speeches
Unveiling of Woody’s Walk – video part 1 of 2 – YouTube main video 1 of 2
Brian will shortly start his new challenge of 35 marathons in 35 days starting with the London marathon.
Here is the link to Brian’s fundraising page GivePenny | The Ultimate Sacrifice
Location of Woody’s Walk: https://www.google.com/maps/search/Woody’s+Walkfirstname.lastname@example.org,-0.8544847,13.25z