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RENOWNED WW1 POETS HONOURED WITH VIOLINS CRAFTED FROM SYCAMORE TREE

Violin maker Steve Burnett has crafted bespoke violins in honour of three influential World War One poets; Wilfred Owen, Seigfried Sassoon and Robert Graves.

Mr Burnett originally crafted two violins to commemorate Owen and Sassoon from the branch of a sycamore tree found in the grounds of Craiglockhart military war hospital, where the pair met in August 1917 whilst recovering from shellshock.

However, research conducted by Aberdeen University lecturer Neil McLennan earlier this year revealed that Owen and Sassoon also met with fellow wartime poet Robert Graves at Baberton Golf Club, Edinburgh, in 1917.

To honour the centenary of the meeting, Mr Burnett felt it was appropriate to create a third violin from the same sycamore branch.

Alongside the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the centenary of the trio’s meet, the three fiddles were played together for the first time at the golf club on Friday 13 October.

L-R: Historian Neil McLennan, holding the Robert Graves violin, fiddle player Thoren Ferguson, holding the Wilfred Owen violin and violin maker Steve Burnett, holding the Siegfried Sassoon violin, at Baberton Golf Club in Edinburgh.
L-R: Historian Neil McLennan holding the Robert Graves violin, fiddle player Thoren Ferguson holding the Wilfred Owen violin, and violin maker Steve Burnett holding the Siegfried Sassoon violin, at Baberton Golf Club in Edinburgh.

A long time admirer of Owen, Mr Burnett crafted the first violin in 2014 to mark the centenary of the outbreak of World War One.

Since, he has collaborated with Scottish violinist and composer, Thoren Ferguson, who has played the Wilfred Owen violin to thousands of people around the country, both in World War One commemorative events and on national radio.

The unique instrument has also been endorsed as an envoy for peace by Unicef goodwill ambassador, Maxim Vengerov, and has been played by popular violinist, Nigel Kennedy.

The second fiddle commemorating Sassoon was crafted earlier this year to commemorate the initial meeting between the poet meeting and Owen. Mr Burnett hopes the instruments will serve as envoys for peace and reconciliation through the power of music.