THE history group behind a First World War sculpture in Caerleon has given it a special makeover during the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

A giant face mask has been added to the village's Veteran sculpture in a timely nod to those health workers on the coronavirus front lines today, as well as their counterparts who were treating patients during the so-called 'Spanish flu' influenza pandemic, roughly 100 years ago.

Tim Davidson, chairman of the Caerleon Festival group, said the addition of the mask was to reassure people by "reminding [them] we've been through major problems before".

The statue sits on the bank of the River Usk in Caerleon, near the Hanbury Arms pub.

Mr Davidson said festival group colleague Barbara Gilfillan had made the mask "to draw attention to those important aspects of recent history – times for people to pull together, be kind to others, and support front-line workers".

Chris Wood's The Veteran sculpture was unveiled in Caerleon in 2018 as part of the village's commemorations of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

To mark that anniversary, the festival group's Caerleon Remembers committee – which comprised people from the local community including Dame Rosemary Butler – also organised a remembrance event and concert at the village's St Cadoc's Church.

The end of the conflict in 1918 did not spell the end of the tragic loss of life, with a deadly influenza pandemic lasting more than one year and infecting 500 million people worldwide, killing an estimated 17-50 million.

Mr Davidson said he hoped the masked statue would encourage people to reflect on those two events, as well as the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.