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Royal Wootton Bassett gifted giant poppy sculpture

image copyrightMark Humphrey
image captionA miniature of the poppy sculpture created as a gift for Royal Wootton Bassett by Mark Humphrey

A marble sculpture of a poppy has been given to Royal Wootton Bassett as gratitude for the way the town honoured repatriated military personnel.

Wiltshire artist Mark Humphrey said the piece, called Forever, would serve as a memorial to the men and women who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The coffins of 355 fallen military personnel passed through the town between spring 2007 and summer 2011.

The High Street became a focal point for families of the deceased.

image copyrightMark Humphrey
image captionThe artist chose Carrera marble for the poppy, representing the "harshness of war", with the white stone "representing peace"

Mr Humphrey, who grew up near Royal Wootton Bassett, said he chose to make the poppy from marble to represent "the harshness of war".

image copyrightMark Humphrey
image captionThe poppy was made in Sardinia before being packed and brought to Wootton Bassett

The sculpture weighs 4.5 tonnes and is 3m across. It will be illuminated in red on a specially-created stand on the outskirts of the town.

image copyrightMark Humphrey
image captionThe 4.5 tonne sculpture has heart-shaped petals which form a cross "as a symbol of sacrifice and forgiveness"

Deputy Mayor Ian Ferries described the sculpture as "a most generous gift".

image copyrightMark Humphrey
image captionWalter Smewing, the artist's great grandfather, with the engraved brass bombshell he made on the Somme in 1916

The design was inspired by Mr Humphrey's great grandfather who engraved a brass bombshell taken from the Somme, where he fought when he was 21 years old.

Mr Humphrey has made public art commissions for The Royal British Legion and Royal Armouries/RAF museum including Every Man Remembered, which was unveiled in Trafalgar Square on the centenary of the outbreak of World War One.

image copyrightMark Humphrey
image captionMark Humphrey made the sculpture, called Forever, as a gift for Royal Wootton Bassett

Related Topics

  • Royal Wootton Bassett
  • Statues and sculptures

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