Categories: Charities, Drama

WW1 play raises £2,000 for Combat Stress

In Mental Health Awareness Week, St Michael & All Angels was delighted to present a cheque for £2,000 to the veterans’ mental heath charity Combat Stress. The money was raised at the Remembrance Day reading of Cosmo’s War, a play based on the letters to and from the artist Cosmo Clark and his family during the First World War.

The picture shows Robert Marsh, Director of Fundraising at Combat Stress, receiving the cheque from the play’s author, former BBC producer Bernard Adams, and Father Kevin Morris, vicar of St Michael & All Angels, who was also the play’s narrator – while therapy dog Bosco looks on!

Robert 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.

“The reading of Cosmo’s War was even more poignant, as Combat Stress was set up in 1919 to support those soldiers from the WWI who returned with psychological and physical injuries.”

Chiswick Church supports Combat Stress

After the performance on November 11th 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”.

No fewer than six of James Clark’s great granddaughters attended the performance and Cosmo’s granddaughters and great-granddaughters were photographed with the cast afterwards (below, with the original family photo in black and white). More of Jim Cox’s production photographs can be seen in this Flickr album.

Cosmo’s War was written by Bernard Adams, a former BBC producer, based on Cosmo Clark’s letters, to and from his family at 44 Rusthall Avenue W4. Copies of the play are now on sale via Amazon here.

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 a well-known artist. His father James Clark painted The Great Sacrifice, described as “the most popular painting of WW1”, and The Salutation mural in the north aisle of St Michael & All Angels Church (seen in the photograph below).

The production, in a packed St Michael’s church (see below), was enhanced by music, costumes and images, including many of Cosmo’s sketches and letters. The part of Cosmo was read by Jamie White, a history student from Chiswick, and other parts were read by professional actors. The narrator was the vicar of St Michael & All Angels, Fr Kevin Morris.

The evening was supported by Andrew Nunn & Associates (click to watch their Chiswick video!), Belinda Norcliffe Casting and Home Instead, Chiswick and Hammersmith. The uniforms were supplied by Khaki Devil of Bury St Edmunds, the other costumes by Janet & John Huckle, and props by Stuart Learmonth, Cosprop, Trading Post, Abbey Fabrics and Superhire Props.

Cosmo’s granddaughters ‘moved’ by Cosmo’s War