Louth receives two ‘Tommies’ to mark the end of the First World War

John Medler, Stuart Davy, Coun Watson, Darren Grant and Neal Gostelow.
John Medler, Stuart Davy, Coun Watson, Darren Grant and Neal Gostelow.

A Louth man has spearheaded a project which will see two ‘Tommies’ installed near the town’s war memorial to mark one century since the end of the First World War.

Darren Grant, 46, formed a community group with his colleague Neal Gostelow, 40, in a bid to mark the centenary through the national ‘There But Not There’ scheme, which will see thousands of sculptured silhouettes of First World War soldiers placed around the UK.

Darren approached ELDC councillor, Pauline Watson, for support with the project after he heard about it on BBC’s Countryfile.

Coun Watson was happy to back the project using her £1,500 allowance through ELDC’s ‘Councillor Community Grants’ scheme.

The two Tommies will be installed at the Orme Almshouses - near the War Memorial - at a short blessing ceremony on Sunday September 30 (4pm), carried out by Rev Nick Brown. The sculptures will remain in place until two weeks after Remembrance Sunday.

In future years, the two Tommies will be sited there for two weeks before and two weeks after the occasion.

Darren, who lost relatives in the First World War, said: “This project is not only healing for our veterans,but also educational for our youngest generation, contributing to their emotional understanding and respect for our fallen.

“We will only get one chance to commemorate 100 years of World War One conflict ending. It’s part of a national campaign, which has got huge backing.”

Darren is keen to appeal for any veterans to go along to mark the occasion on September 30.

Meanwhile, Coun Watson explained why she backed the project. She said: “I think this is a very worthwhile project, and I think it’s very important for the town of Louth.

“I agreed to it because it’s a lasting memory, for evermore”

Stuart Davy, the outgoing Chief Executive of ELDC, and John Medler, Corporate Support Service Manager at ELDC, both met with Darren, Neal, and Coun Pauline Watson for the unveiling of the project on September 7.

Mr Davy said that he, and the council as a whole, is ‘really happy’ to support the project.

• Find out more about the ‘There But Not There’ scheme at www.therebutnotthere.org.uk.