Local businesses in the united benefice of Kirkburton and Shelley have responded generously to a local appeal for sponsorship to raise funds for the purchase of two 'Silent Soldiers'. These transparent military figures will be displayed in All Hallows' Kirkburton and Emmanuel Church in Shelley.
The nationwide Commemorative Project behind these memorials, 'There but Not There', was initiated by The British Legion to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War and has sparked the imagination of the nation. This initiative has been developed in response to an installation of 51 transparent seated military figures in the Penshurst Church over Remembrance 2016, which lit a touch paper in the psyche of all who saw it.
In response to the Commemorative Project, businesses from the Huddersfield Area villages have already given a generous donation to Kirkburton Church and it is hoped that there may be further sponsors coming forward to help mark this event.
This opportunity to mark the centenary of the end of the of WW1 struck a poignant chord with one couple (pictured below with Revd Amanda Grant) who have donated to the appeal. Kevin Dare, Managing Director of Cogri, and his wife, Lynn, run an international company from headquarters at Dean Bottom Mills, to which they moved from Meltham in 2003. Kevin was brought up with first-hand knowledge of army life. He is one of six boys; his five brothers all serve in the army, as did his father, his grandfather and great grandfather, who was a Captain in the Indian Army. Kevin was well aware of the commitment, hard work and dangers of army life and he wanted to make a contribution to this Commemorative Project. His father died at Catterick, while serving in the Army, and is buried in Kirkburton Churchyard. Kevin has a number of ex-army personnel among the 70 employees working at Cogri. He recognised their military training, knowledge and skills were invaluable when they transferred to civilian life.
The Revd Amanda Grant, incumbent at Kirkburton and Shelley, said, "Our “Tommies” will be a poignant reminder of the loss of so many from our local communities in World War 1."
"In 2018, the Project aims to place a representative figure for those named on local war memorials, and in community buildings where these men and women were keenly missed, including schools, workplaces and their places of worship. Here at All Hallows' and Emmanuel churches we are supporting this nationwide Project and will be placing a 6ft tall aluminium figure (shown right) within both All Hallows' and Emmanuel churches."
The figures will be first commemorated on Remembrance Day this year, as Kirkburton and Shelley mark the end of the First World War. These "Silent Soldiers" will be unveiled at the 9:30am Remembrance Day service at Emmanuel Church and at the 11:00 am All Hallows' Church remembrance service on the 11th November 2018. All will be welcome to these significant services.
If you wish to make a contribution towards The Two Tommies, please contact allhallowschurch [at] yahoo.co.uk - All funds raised by the British Legion through the sale of the ‘Tommies’ will be donated to the following charities:
• The Royal Foundation: Heads Together
• Walking With The Wounded
• Combat Stress
• Help for Heroes
• Project Equinox: Housing Veterans and Medical Students
• Commonwealth War Graves Foundation
The 'Tommies', and their commemorative packaging are made by the Royal British Legion Industries, appropriately, by ex-Service Veterans employed by RBLI. The cost of each aluminium Tommy figure, is £750. A small plaque with those businesses who contributed will be placed by each Tommy.