WW1 play at St Michael & All Angels Church raises £2,000 for Combat Stress veterans

Image above: Cosmo’s War; photograph James Cox

Cosmo’s War raises £2000 for veterans charity

A play staged in Chiswick on Remembrance Day about the First World War, has raised £2,000 for veterans’ charity Combat Stress. Cosmo’s War was based on letters exchanged between Bedford Park artist Cosmo Clark and his family during the war.

The performance, at St Michael and All Angels Church and featured music and images, including sketches and letters by Cosmo. Jamie White, a history student from Chiswick, read the part of Cosmo, while professional actors read other roles. The vicar of St Michael & All Angels, Fr Kevin Morris, served as the narrator.

A £2,000 cheque was presented to the charity during Mental Health Awareness Week. Combat Stress Director of Fundraising, Robert Marsh, expressed his gratitude for the donation, emphasising the organisation’s reliance on public support to provide treatment for UK veterans. Combat Stress was established in 1919 to assist soldiers returning from WWI with psychological and physical injuries.

Mr Marsh said:

“Thank you to St Michael & All Angels Church for their donation. Combat Stress is 77% reliant on public donations to deliver its life-changing treatment for UK veterans. From eye-watering endurance challenges to marathons, we appreciate the tenacity and determination of our many fundraising challengers and the generosity of our supporters.”

Image above: Robert Marsh receiving the cheque from Bernard Adams, and Father Kevin Morris with therapy dog Bosco; Photograph Roger Green

“Superb performance”

After the performance on 11 November 2022, Mark Izatt, a trustee of Combat Stress, wrote on Twitter:

“It was a superb performance. I had read the letters before but this gave them a whole new meaning”.

Cosmo volunteered for active service at the age of 17 and won the Military Cross. He documented his experiences in drawings and letters from the front and later became well-known as an artist. His father James Clark painted The Great Sacrifice, acknowledged to be the most popular painting of WW1.

He also painted The Salutation mural in the north aisle of St Michael & All Angels Church.

There were six of James Clark’s great granddaughters and several granddaughters and great-granddaughters of Cosmo, who saw the play and posed for photographs with the cast.

Bernard Adams, a former BBC producer, wrote Cosmo’s War based on the letters exchanged between Cosmo Clark and his family at 44 Rusthall Avenue W4. Copies of the play are available for purchase on Amazon.

Image above: St Michael & All Angels’ Remembrance Day service and scenes from the play; photographs James Cox

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