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New Statue of Sefton at Hawkshead Campus

16 October 2013

A life-sized statue of a military horse that survived a terrorist attack in London has been unveiled at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC).

The horse, Sefton, suffered terrible injuries in the 1982 Hyde Park bombing, which killed seven military horses and four soldiers. An IRA nail bomb was detonated at the time of the Changing of the Guard, striking the formation of horses and their riders.

Sefton received 34 separate injuries in the attack but served with the British Army for two years after the incident and survived until 1993. As the most severely injured surviving horse, Sefton's story of recovery captured the nation's hearts and he came to symbolise the resilience that is characteristic of the armed forces.

Bronze statue of Sefton
Artist Camilla Le May with her bronze statue of Sefton

The bronze statue was unveiled on October 16th by RVC Honorary Fellow and Chairman of Norbrook Lord Ballyedmond. The sculpture of Sefton has pride of place at the heart of the College’s Hawkshead campus in North Mymms, Hertfordshire.

The statue was funded by Lord Ballyedmond, to honour the life-time achievements of one of the College's longest serving senior academics Professor Peter Lees, who retired in 2010.

Beckie Cordner presents Lord Ballyedmond with a maquette of the statue
Lord Ballyedmond is presented with a maquette of Sefton by Beckie Cordner (student) who is President of the RVC Equine Clinical Club, Lord Curry of Kirkharle (Chairman of Council, RVC) looks on

Sefton's statue sits outside the College's Teaching and Research Centre, which houses the pharmacology laboratory where Professor Lees worked. The statue stands in the place where the Sefton Equine Hospital once stood, a facility now relocated in new equine services elsewhere on the campus.

Many who knew and rode Sefton were involved in the creation of the work of art, providing the detailed briefings necessary for the artist Camilla Le May to capture the character and spirit of a great horse.

Commenting on the statue, RVC Principal Professor Stuart Reid said: “As a symbol of resilience and recovery Sefton really is an inspiration and will live long in the memory of those who knew him. I would like to thank the generosity of our friend Lord Ballyedmond for his kind donation in recognition of our esteemed colleague Professor Lees that has enabled us to create this statue in memory of a great horse.”

Lord Ballyedmond commented, “I am pleased to be able to offer my support to honour the work of Professor Peter Lees. The statue of Sefton will seal Peter’s place in history for his advancement of pharmacology and unwavering dedication to research.”

Col Neil Smith RAVC, Professor Emeritus Peter Lees, Camilla Le May (artist), Prof Stuart Reid, Lt Col Paul Bedford
Col Neil Smith (head of the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and RVC alumnus), Professor Emeritus Peter Lees, Camilla Le May (artist), Prof Stuart Reid (Principal, RVC), and Lt Col Paul Bedford (commanding officer of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, to which Sefton belonged)

Notes for editors

  • Founded in 1791, The Royal Veterinary College is the first and largest veterinary school in the English speaking world and a constituent College of the University of London. An independent, research led organisation, it also provides support for veterinary and related professions through its three referral hospitals, diagnostic services and continuing professional development courses. www.rvc.ac.uk
  • Dr Edward Enda Haughey, The Right Honourable the Lord Ballyedmond OBE founded Norbrook Laboratories in 1969. Norbrook is a global leader in the development of revolutionary veterinary and animal health medicines based in Newry, Northern Ireland with manufacturing facilities in four continents, employing 3000+ people worldwide. Lord Ballyedmond is Chairman and CEO of Norbrook and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Veterinary College.
  • Peter Lees is Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Pharmacology at the Royal Veterinary College and a pharmacologist with interests and expertise in basic and applied veterinary aspects of the discipline. His research interests have spanned the fields of renal pharmacology, the pharmacology of drugs acting on the CNS, inflammation, anti-inflammatory drugs, cartilage biology and antimicrobial chemotherapy. His current principal research interests are in the fields of antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • The College commissioned its inaugural Artist in Residence, Camilla Le May to sculpt Sefton. Camilla specialises in animal subjects and her work is represented in private collections around the world. www.camillalemay.com

Further Information

To request further information or an interview please contact:

The Royal Veterinary College

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Established in 1791, the RVC is the UK’s longest-standing veterinary college—with a proud heritage of innovation in veterinary science, clinical practice and education.

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