A call has gone out for help in replacing Royal Wootton Bassett's Forever Poppy.
Residents are urging UK businesses and the public to dig deep for the iconic symbol honouring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The town became known the world over for honouring the Fallen repatriated through RAF Lyneham, and a marble poppy statue was donated in commemoration of the lost personnel.
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.
Tom said: “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 Mr 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 said: “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.
Donations can be made at https://www.gofundme.com/f/royal-wootton-bassett-poppy