THE VETERANS’ FORGE
Walking into Will Spicer’s barn-sized forge is a revelation. His tools and techniques are not just a blast from the past, they’re a testament to how to build a future. Will arrived in Purbeck after a family tragedy and suffering from anxiety. He has re-built his confidence through blacksmithing, and teaching these skills to others, by setting up the Veterans’ Forge, a community interest company. Will recycles metal: copper boilers, tank tracks, bolts and gun barrels, and turns them into attractive flowers, benches, and memorial plaques. Making things, he tells me, is therapeutic; taking a straight piece of metal and bending it to become something else, is uplifting. He also believes the beautiful landscape has been part of his recovery; that the rolling Purbeck hills are good for the soul.
Will works with other charities, and with people with disabilities, and has adapted the forge so that everyone can feel comfortable there. Under his patient supervision, people from all walks of life - not just army veterans - can find joy in creating things. Blacksmithing is an art, he tells me. Just as a musician might learn different chords on a guitar, or a painter practices a variety of brush strokes, a blacksmith has to master various disciplines of metal-working, including reading the different colour hues of hot metal. It can’t be rushed. Everyone learns at their own speed. Will has created a calm space for others to realise their own potential. Thoughtful, and wise, Will is just one of the many people who make Purbeck such a special place to live.