I want to make more than just a statue of the great surgeon. McIndoe's story is inseparable from that of the Guinea Pig Club, his burned 'boys' for whom he was a cross between compassionate parent and strict figure of authority. So I have represented him with a patient (though not a particular person) who has burns to his face and hands but still wears his RAF uniform, as McIndoe insisted his patients should be allowed to.
The pilot is turning his head to look back up to the sky in which he can no longer fly but also towards his doctor for reassurance. McIndoe's hands are on the younger man's shoulders, suggesting the communication of his extraordinary confidence - his patients always refer in their memories of him to his absolute certainty that they would go on to lead productive lives despite the traumas they'd suffered.
Many of McIndoe's patients suffered terrible injuries to their hands and "main en griffe" (claw hands) frequently resulted. After his wartime burns, my own father's hands were fixed in a claw shape for the remainder of his adult life. I can remember when growing up how tentatively he sometimes used to hold them and how he used to stretch them when they ached. This is something I want to record in that one small part of the statue.
McIndoe encouraged the people of East Grinstead to involve themselves with the social rehabilitation of his patients. I'm proposing that the statue should have a continuous crescent of stone seating encircling it, so that when the people of the town sit down around it they will be helping symbolically to complete it.
It seems to me to be important that this monument should be seen not just as a tribute to a great man but to his heroic patients as well and to the community that did so much to
Martin Jennings - Sculptor
The McIndoe Memorial Statue was unveiled by HRH The Princess Royal on 9th June 2014 to great public acclaim.