Axe Valley students mend vandalised ‘Tommy’

PUBLISHED: 17:29 13 September 2018 | UPDATED: 09:23 17 September 2018

Norman Moores thanks Axe Valley students for repairing the Silent Soldier  outside  his home at Stewart Court in Axminster. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

Norman Moores thanks Axe Valley students for repairing the Silent Soldier outside his home at Stewart Court in Axminster. Picture: CHRIS CARSON

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Youngsters said they wanted to show they do care after a ‘Silent Soldier’ was broken in half

Students at Axe Valley Academy were so appalled to hear one of Axminster’s Silent Soldiers had been vandalised they offered to repair it.

The life-size ‘Tommy’ silhouette – a tribute to the fallen of World War One - had been positioned outside the Stewart Court housing complex where it was broken in half.

Today (Thursday, September 13) students and staff from the school, along with Royal British Legion members and Mayor Jeremy Walden, gathered at Millwey Rise to put the restored silhouette back in place.

Head teacher Martin Brook said he was really proud of his students who wanted to prove that not all young people were bad by repairing the ‘Tommy’.

Each of the six young people at the ceremony addressed the gathering.

One said: “We are here today to show you that we as young people do care. We care about the sacrifices that were made by the brave men and women who fought for our country in The Great War which ended 100 year ago in 1918.”

Another added: “We were appalled to hear from our headteacher that some young people had damaged ‘Tommy’ who was placed here to help us all remember those who had fallen in the Great War.

“And we wanted to do something about it so we have had ‘Tommy’ repaired in school and we are bringing him back to his rightful place.”

Year 7 students also made a special wreath to lay in front of ‘Tommy’ showing linked hands with their names inscribed upon them.

Students at the ceremony were head boy and head girl Charlie Clode and Louise Tyne, their deputies Dan Rowe and Olive Fitzgerald and year sevens Caitlin Mitson and Fenton Garrettaz. Mr Brook said many more had wanted to be there.

Stewart Court resident Norman Moores, 85, found the vandalised ‘Tommy’ which had been pulled down and put it back with the help of neighbour Peter Hawkins. But the next day it had been attacked again and this time was broken in half.

“I was so incensed I took him to the school to show them and they offered to repair him,” he said.

Mayor Jeremy Walden said: “What these Axe Valley Academy students have shown is that the actions of the few are not mirrored by the many. The young people of this town are great and this is a good example of it.”

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