ROYAL Wootton Bassett has been given a sneak peak at what could be the Forever poppy replacement after an image of it on the empty plinth was shared.

The original marble monument was installed to commemorate 355 military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and repatriated through the town. But it collapsed one night in October 2017.

This week the Forever Poppy Fund unveiled the design for a huge red poppy which received positive feedback on social media.

Committee member Tom Patterson said: “A lady called Sophie who works at Coade Ltd who are designing the poppy made the Photoshopped picture so people could get a better idea of what it would look like when it’s finished.

“When I first saw it I thought it was stunning, I really liked it. It was nice to receive such a positive response because six months ago when we tried to push the poppy on social media we had more negative comments than positive.”

The committee needs to raise £300,000 to build the memorial. Around £5,000 has been raised so far but £3,000 of that was spent on a structural engineers report.

TV presenter Nick Knowles from DIY SOS has already lent his support. In a video publicising the appeal he said: “Sadly in 2017 the original poppy collapsed, after many meetings and the support of the town council there’s now a committee formed to support to raise the money required to have the Forever poppy replaced with a bronze poppy.

“The replacement Forever poppy will be the only monument in the town honouring the 355 servicemen and women who sadly lost their lives in the Iraq and Afghanistan war who were repatriated through the town.

“If everyone who listens to this message donates £1 we would reach our target in no time at all.”

Tom said: “We’re giving a big push on publicising the Poppy Fund as Remembrance Sunday approaches. At the last town council meeting we showed that it wouldn’t collapse because it would be supported at four different points and it will only weight two and three quarter tonnes.

“The council and people of the town are now onboard with the new sculpture, it’s nice to see things are moving forward with this.”

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