Vet teaching college unveils statue of IRA survivor Sefton
A life-size bronze statue of a horse that became a symbol of the struggle against the IRA after surviving the deadly 1982 Hyde Park bomb attack is due to be unveiled.
The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) commissioned the sculpture of Sefton, whose recovery from the blast which killed seven stablemates and four soldiers captured the nation's hearts.
Michael Pedersen, who first lived in Fowey before moving to Lostwithiel, in South East Cornwall, was riding Sefton on the day of the blast.
A sergeant in the Household Cavalry, he escaped with facial burns, shrapnel wounds, a six-inch nail embedded in his hand and a perforated eardrum.
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The new statue was commissioned to honour one of the RVC's longest serving senior academics, Professor Peter Lees, who retired in 2010.
The college's artist in residence, Camilla Le May, was handed the task of sculpting the black gelding, which was revealed on Wednesday. It stands outside the college's teaching and research centre in North Mymms, Hertfordshire.
The Princess Royal was due to attend but fog grounded her flight to the college, her spokesman said. Instead, Lord Ballyedmond, an RVC honorary fellow, unveiled the model of Sefton.
Ms Le May said: "It was fascinating to talk to those who rode and knew Sefton and this, along with studying old photos, enabled me to find out some of his individual traits, such as the way he often tilted his head, looking back over his shoulder, which I chose to represent in the work.
"He was by all accounts a strong character and quite a handful, especially in his youth. Perhaps it was partly this strength of character that helped him pull through his appalling injuries."
Sefton served with the British Army for 17 years from 1967 to 1984 and went on to win Horse of the Year.
Despite 34 separate wounds that required eight hours of surgery, Sefton recovered and was able to return to service, where he became famous for battling against the odds.
He was put down at the age of 30, in July 1993, due to lameness – a complication of the injuries he suffered during the bombing.
Professor Stuart Reid, principal at the RVC, 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.
"The piece created by Camilla is a true testament to Sefton and I'm sure will be admired by many visitors to the college in years to come."
Tragedy struck the Pedersen family late last year when Mr Pedersen was found dead, along with his two young children, in a country lane near Andover, in Hampshire.
An inquest later heard the former soldier stabbed his seven-year-old son Ben, and daughter Freya, 6, before taking his own life after the breakdown of his marriage.