The memorial features two large granite rocks, donated and delivered by Aggregate Industries from its Bardon Hill quarry located nearby.
The project was championed by Braunstone Community Life (BCL), the community newspaper, which felt the town needed to mark the centenary in a special way. Rallying the Town Council and representatives from many other groups across the area, they embarked on creating a poppy cascade and residents young and old, from age 5 to 94, have been crafting 14,177 poppies; one for each Leicestershire man who died within the Great War.
But in seeking the best place to display the cascade, suddenly the absence of an appropriate war memorial within Braunstone Town became apparent to all. The only area that existed was within the Civic Centre gardens and merely featured a small block of concrete and plaque commemorating the American D-Day veterans who were stationed there during WW2.
With the Town Council committing funds to renovate the garden, BCL set about replacing the lump of concrete with a more fitting tribute, which is where Aggregate Industries stepped in.
Lin Burrows, editor at BCL, comments: “Despite having limited funds available, we decided that we should try and source some Leicestershire stone and erect a war memorial for the victims of all wars. We knew we wanted some form of attractive and long-lasting natural stone but didn't really know much else about what to ask for. We contacted Aggregate Industries’ Bardon Hill quarry and they responded with more than we could have hoped for. We had raised funds to pay for the stones, yet Aggregate Industries donated not one, but two…rocks!”
Alan Barrett, Regional Director for Aggregates North at Aggregate Industries, comments: “Braunstone Community Life approached us with a view to purchase some stone. Upon learning the details of the project, it struck a chord for us all and we felt we could do a lot more. We invited Lin to visit the quarry so she could personally select two rocks that would be perfect for the memorial. We then arranged for delivery via one of our flatbed lorries with a Hiab crane to lift them where required.”
Lin Burrows adds: “We couldn't be more thrilled with Aggregate Industries' very kind donation. The stones are far bigger than we could ever have afforded and will look a lot more dramatic. And not only that; because we didn't have to pay for them, we have been able to use the funds raised for the stones to buy flowers and plants to create a sensory garden around the memorial.”
The 14,177 poppies were unveiled on 1 November 2018 and will be in place throughout the month. They will cascade down an exterior wall at Braunstone Civic Centre, then flow along the ground to form a red shroud around the new war memorial. Today, 7 November 2018, Bishop Peter Fox will be holding a dedication service for the memorial.
Lin ends: “This has been a real community effort which was greatly helped by Aggregate Industries’ donation. We can't thank them enough.”