New Thrapston war memorial to be unveiled after 'overwhelming' response to vandalism

It will be unveiled tomorrow

Monday, 26th April 2021, 11:32 am
Updated Monday, 26th April 2021, 11:34 am
The damage caused to the memorial last year. Credit: Thrapston Town Council

A new and improved war memorial area in Thrapston will be unveiled tomorrow (Tuesday) thanks to the generosity of those who rallied round when a previous display was vandalised.

The beheading of the 'Tommy' silent soldier on November 12 last year - during Remembrance Week - made national headlines and even saw Prime Minister Boris Johnson write to Thrapston Town Council to express his distress and pass on his best wishes over plans for a replacement.

A replacement soldier, which represents the thousands of servicemen who walked across the country’s fields and hills on their way back from The Great War, was later loaned to the town by Grange Primary Academy in Kettering.

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And after an incredible response from the community there will not just be a permanent replacement, but a much-improved memorial area at Coronation Gardens in Oundle Road.

Local resident Sophie Starsmore set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to permanently replace the statue. Donations rolled in from across the country, totalling £4,750.

Thrapston will now have not just one but three silent soldiers standing guard over the memorial stone. A fourth silent soldier will be mobile, to be positioned around the town as needed for Remembrance events.

But the funding pot was not needed for the silent soldiers thanks to generous donations from Sheila and Mike of Southern Acrylics, Old Weston, who made and donated a replacement

statue free of charge, Will Gadsby, Spirotech Group, Sawtry, who made and donated a replacement statue free of charge, Hugh Burns, a member of the public who privately donated a statue and Ernie Keating, a member of the public who privately donated a statue.

Because of their generosity the money raised by Mrs Starsmore’s page has instead been used towards a stunning new permanent outdoor memorial displaying the names of Thrapston’s war dead.

Tomorrow at 11am the soldiers and memorial to the war dead will be unveiled by a small group including mayor of Thrapston, Cllr Karen Draycott, and Mrs Starsmore.

The ceremony will be filmed and broadcast on the town council’s Facebook page and members of the public are asked not to attend in person due to restrictions on gatherings.

Clerk to the Town Council Linda Marshall said: “The nation cares very deeply about honouring those who fought for our freedom. This has been shown by the overwhelming response to the fundraising page and the offers of replacement statues.

"Thrapston is eternally grateful to all who donated statues and gave towards the fundraising page.

"This has allowed us to erect a permanent outdoor memorial displaying the names of the war dead.

"The improved memorial area is the physical result of people coming together virtually from far and wide, with the common goal of honouring our veterans. We will remember them.”

- Myles Hannah, of Fengate in Peterborough, pleaded not guilty to the November vandalism. A trial is due to take place later this year.