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Tommies installed in Tower Gardens

A tommy statue on the cliff at Dover

Published: Wednesday, 10th October 2018

The Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk and the Rotary Club of King’s Lynn are placing two statues in Tower Gardens in a joint project to commemorate the centenary of the end of WWI.

The statues will be officially unveiled in a ceremony at 10:45am on Friday 12 October and members of the public are welcome to attend.

The statues, known as Tommies, have been purchased from There But Not There, a charitable organisation. The cost of each statue will contribute directly to the work of the charities There But Not There supports.

The Tommies are six-foot-tall aluminium silhouettes that provide a poignant reminder of a generation of young men who were missing from their homes, families and communities, but live on in the nation’s memory.

The Tommies will be linked to WWI Soldiers Remembered, the borough council’s project with the Royal British Legion. WWI Soldiers Remembered involves 600 west Norfolk schoolchildren spending an activity day at Stories of Lynn learning about, and decorating a representation of, one of the soldiers from the borough’s Roll of Honour. The representation, a small wooden figure, is then placed in a symbolic No Man’s Land in Tower Gardens to create an art installation. The two Tommy statues will be installed on plinths in the No Man’s Land area, to ‘stand guard’ over the 600 smaller representations of soldiers.

On Friday 12 October 120 children from St Michael’s Church of England Academy and Whitefriars Church of England Academy will attend the ceremony to unveil the Tommies. The ceremony will begin with the playing of a soundtrack of names inscribed on the war memorial. The mayor and Cllr Nockolds will make a speech and short readings will be given. The schoolchildren will sing a WWI song and place four wooden soldiers at the front of No Man’s Land.

Cllr Nick Daubney, Mayor of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, said: “Our Tommies remind us in a very real sense of those young members of our own community who lost their lives in the First World War. No longer with us, but a huge loss to their families, friends and work mates. We must remember and honour them”.

Cllr Elizabeth Nockolds, borough council deputy leader and cabinet member for Culture, Heritage and Health, said: “King’s Lynn & West Norfolk has a historically close relationship with the Armed Forces. The borough council is a proud member of the Norfolk Armed Forces Covenant, and as such we recognise and remember the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces community, today and in the past. I’m very pleased that we are part of this national project which commemorates the fallen of the First World War, but also raises funds for the veterans who need our help today”.

Ian Mason, Community Chairman of the Rotary Club of King’s Lynn, said: “I brought the idea of the There But Not There” Tommy installation to the Rotary Club, who were just as excited and agreed the purchase. I then contacted the borough council to seek permission to place the Tommy in a prominent position in the town. We found the council had also purchased one and so we agreed to undertake a joint venture for the community. On behalf of the Rotary Club, I’d like to express my gratitude to the borough council and the Royal British Legion for being so pro-active and passionate about this project.

“The Rotarian's motto is "Service Above Self", and there has been no greater service given than those we remember here with this project, and along with the Royal British Legion 2018’s movement, we join them in saying thank you. Thank you to all who served, sacrificed, and changed our world.”

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