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Just £1 from you could see new Forever Poppy memorial bloom
Royal Wootton Bassett is seeking public support to honour fallen military personnel with replacement Forever Poppy sculpture …
Wootton Bassett received its royal title in October 2011 – the first town to be bestowed with the title since 1909 – as recognition of the role it played during the repatriation of UK military personnel. A marble ‘Forever Poppy’ erected to commemorate fallen military personnel collapsed in 2017, resulting in residents taking it upon themselves to form a committee and help generate the funds required to install a long-lasting bronze replacement.
Now their cause has attracted celebrity interest, with a trio of famous faces joining residents of Royal Wootton Bassett in calling for widespread public support to help commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the town’s royal patronage with a replacement Forever Popp’ sculpture: charismatic TV presenter Nick Knowles, best known for DIY SOS; presenter and co-founder of Soccer Aid, Jonathan Wilkes; and former professional darts player, Bob Anderson.
Says Knowles: ‘The replacement Forever Poppy will be the only monument in the town honouring the s355 Service men and women who sadly lost their lives in the Iraq and Afghanistan war, who were repatriated through the town. If everyone who listens to this message donates £1, we would reach our target in no time at all.’
The Forever Poppy committee is determined to have the sculpture replaced so the town has a permanent reminder, not only of the military personnel that lost their lives and were repatriated through the town, but also of how residents have paid their respects in honouring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of their country.
Led by Councillor Tom Patterson, the committee behind the Forever Poppy appeal has already secured the services of renowned sculptor Stephen Pettifer to create the replacement statue. Patterson comments: ‘We are determined to raise the funding to have the replacement poppy in place to commemorate the town’s 10-year anniversary of its royal patronage.
‘We have seen an incredible groundswell of support for our cause, ranging from residents of Royal Wootton Bassett to celebrity backing. Unfortunately, our grassroots campaign of getting support via donation tins in local businesses has been dramatically affected by the pandemic, so we are asking people across the country to please help us turn our goal into a reality.’
The Committee has set up a GoFundMe page to drive donations for what would be a permanent and iconic symbol for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the country.
If you would like to contribute …
Click here to donate to the appeal.
About the Forever Poppy appeal
Our aim is to raise enough money to replace the Poppy and have it placed back on the plinth, as this will be the only monument in the town honouring the 355 British Service men and women who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan and were repatriated through Royal Wootton Bassett.
About Royal Wootton Bassett
Royal Wootton Bassett’s repatriation ceremony is internationally renowned and respected. The town’s 10-year anniversary of receiving royal patronage will fall on 16 October 2021.
Main picture: The original Forever Poppy sculpture collapsed in 2017, and fundraisers now plan to replace it with a new bronze memorial (inset)
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