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Royal Wootton Bassett calls for Remembrance Day support
Residents of the historic town of Royal Wootton Bassett are urging UK businesses and members of the public to dig deep and help fund the replacement of the town’s ‘Forever Poppy’– an iconic symbol for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our nation.
Royal Wootton Bassett’s repatriation ceremony is internationally renowned, culminating in the donation of a marble poppy statue to the town to commemorate the 355 fallen Service personnel who were repatriated to RAF Lyneham. Unfortunately, the marble Forever Poppy collapsed in 2017 and residents of the town have taken it upon themselves to generate the funds required to install a bronze replacement.
Led by Tom Patterson, a local committee is calling on the community to pay their respects to fallen Service personnel by donating to the Forever Poppy Fund appeal. Says Tom: ‘This cause is very dear to the hearts of all Royal Wootton Bassett residents – our repatriation ceremony is unique in the sense that the high street comes to a complete standstill on Armistice Day in order to honour the fallen.
‘While work is under way, the replacement of the ‘Forever Poppy’ is expected to cost in the region of £290,000, and we need help in funding this important commemorative symbol for the brave Service men and women who have risked their lives for this country. We have been very pleased with the community support thus far and are delighted to already have an exceptional artist in Stephen Pettifer working on the redesign.’ Following initial conversations with the committee, renowned stone sculptor Pettifer was honoured to support the appeal and was interested in the challenge of designing and creating a realistic poppy entirely out of bronze.
Stephen continues: ‘I was really eager to get involved and create something that is both symbolic for the town of Royal Wootton Bassett and for our country. Like people, poppies are delicate, and have come to embody just how fragile human life really is. It is an honour to be involved in a project that reminds us of the enormous sacrifice our Armed Forces have made on behalf of this country.’
While the replacement could take a year to complete, the committee hopes for the project to be completed as quickly as possible. To support its funding efforts, the committee has set up a website and a GoFundMe page to receive donations from anyone who would like to support this important cause.
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.
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