A life-sized bronze statue of Sefton, the Household Cavalry horse who survived the 1982 Hyde Park IRA bombing, was unveiled at Royal Veterinary College (RVC), last Wednesday (16 October).

Sefton suffered 34 wounds in the bombing — which required 8 of hours of surgery — but he recovered and returned to service. He was put to sleep in 1993 at the age of 30 due to complications caused by injuries suffered during the bombing.

The statue was created by Camilla Le May in a giant shed near her home in East Sussex. Camilla used photographs and talked to people who knew the horse in attempt to make the statue as lifelike as possible.

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At the unveiling of the Sefton statue

“It was fascinating to talk to those who rode and knew Sefton. 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,” Camilla said.

“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.”

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Camilla Le May at work at home in her studio

The bronze model was commissioned to honour one of the RVC’s longest-serving senior academics, Professor Peter Lees, who retired in 2010. It was funded by RVC honorary fellow Lord Ballyedmond.

The statue was due to be unveiled by Princess Anne, but she was unable to attend the ceremony as her helicopter could not take off due to poor weather so Lord Ballyedmond took her place.