In November Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the community of Thrapston for responding ‘magnificently’ to the ‘awful vandalism’ against the Silent Soldier war memorial.
The new and improved memorial area will be unveiled at 11am tomorrow, Tuesday 27th April 2021, at Coronation Gardens, Oundle Road, Thrapston, Northamptonshire NN14 4PA
The heart-breaking vandalism to Thrapston’s Silent Soldier statue happened during November’s national lockdown. The news triggered an incredible outpouring of local and national support.
A replacement soldier was loaned to the town by Grange Primary Academy Kettering. Local resident Sophie Starsmore set up a Go Fund Me 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.
Incredibly, the funding pot was left untouched thanks to generous donations of Silent Soldiers 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.
Ernie Keating, a member of the public who privately donated a statue.
What’s the donation money being spent on?
Due to the generous donations of statues, the money raised by Mrs Starsmore’s Go Fund Me page has instead been used towards a stunning new permanent outdoor memorial displaying the names of Thrapston’s war dead.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) 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. 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.”
The Royal British Legion Silent Soldier (affectionately known by some as ‘Tommy’) represents the thousands of servicemen who walked across the country’s fields and hills on their way back from The Great War. Thrapston Town Council installed a soldier silhouette by the War Memorial in 2018 to mark 100 years since the end of the conflict.
The damage to the Silent Soldier was caused in the evening of 12th November 2020, in Remembrance Week, as the nation marked 75 years since VE Day.
Thrapston Town Council is also carrying out significant improvements to the Peace Memorial Park, close to Coronation Gardens. The Park celebrated its Centenary year in 2020 and the improvements mark 100 years since the area was dedicated as a War Memorial following the Great War. A poppy shaped meeting area, rose garden, sensory garden, accessible paths and ‘Lest We Forget’ and poppy decorated bins bring together the strong Remembrance theme.