Commemorative ‘Tommies’ bid is turned down by town council

One of the Tommy silhouettes

One of the Tommy silhouettes - Credit: Archant

The chairman of Godmanchester Community Association is “extremely disappointed” that the town council has thrown out a plan to site the silhouettes of two Tommy figures from the First World War on the recreation ground.

Tommy figures from the First World War on the recreation ground.

It also turned down a separate bid to install a commemorative bench there too.

Godmanchester Town Council said it was “with regret” that the request to put the Tommies on the recreation ground had been refused.

But it was concerned that they would amount to an additional war memorial, would require maintenance and the open design of the silhouettes presented a risk of injury because limbs could become trapped in them.

Stephen Spencer said it had been hoped that the Royal British Legion Tommies could be sited close to some willow trees planted to mark the town’s dead from the First World War as part of the centenary of the end of the conflict.

“I am extremely disappointed but not surprised,” said Mr Spencer.

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“I have since had an offer from a member of the public to site them on his property temporarily and I also have a number of other ideas which I do not want to disclose at this time.

“The intention was to put them looking out over Portholme where people could watch the changing vistas through the silhouettes.”

The Tommies have already been installed at sites across the country.

Roger Leivers, from Godmanchester, also wanted to put a commemorative bench on the recreation ground to commemorate the town’s fallen.

It was to have been funded by his ‘Godmanchester Stirling Fund’ through money raised by his book Stirling to Essen - which told the story of a wartime bomber crash in the town - and his historic war walks.

The town council said the bench did not meet its policies on benches, including its design.

Mayor, Councillor Sarah Conboy said: “We have been pleased to actively support the town’s remembrance activities, including the work being done to mark the 100th anniversary.

“Whilst these offers have been very generous they each have presented challenges and it was sad to say ‘no, thank you’ on this occasion.”

The council said it was with regret that it had declined the offers of the Tommies and the bench but that it already maintained the war memorial, had supported the planting of commemorative trees and supported the Godmanchester Remembers group by assisting with large poppies being attached to lampposts in the run up to Remembrance Day and with a grant towards its latest project.

The council said: “We believe the town council has been supportive of remembrance projects.”