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Remembering while recycling at same time as Armistice memorial created

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A West Norfolk villager has created a memorial entirely from recycled materials to remember those who lost their lives in the First World War.

Mark Thomas, 68, of Ryston has created the Armistice memorial using various objects such as cannon shells, an old clock, a calendar, flag and ammunition boxes.

Plastic bottles were also cut up and painted to create poppies while medals belonging to his wife’s great-great-grandad Joshia Honneybunn were used.

Mark Thomas and Sarah Pratt with the memorial
Mark Thomas and Sarah Pratt with the memorial

He served as a gunner for the RAF in the Battle of Mons and Mr Thomas said he had been trying to research his history.

The old clock and calendar are a reference to the eleventh hour of the eleventh day in November when the conflict ended.

The memorial will be housed in St Michael Church on the Ryston Estate.

Mr Thomas enlisted the support of his grandchildren, Tommy (9) and Ronny (13) Green, when making the poppies for the memorial using roughly 200 bottle caps.

Mr Thomas said: “I have always been very patriotic. My step-father brought me up and he was in the Royal Navy. It’s about showing respect really.

“There are memorials all over the country so you wonder what you could do by simply putting yourself out for a few hours.”

After finishing the memorial on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Thomas said he was pleased with how it looked.

“It was a bit of fun and proved interesting to make,” Mr Thomas said.

“If you like it, you like it; if you don’t, you don’t but at the end of the day it is about commemoration.”

The memorial took roughly five-hours to construct after the materials had been collected over a number of months.

Mr Thomas, who moved to West Norfolk from Essex, said Sarah Pratt of Ryston Hall took an interest in his project.

Mrs Pratt, who is the church warden at St Michael, said: “He [Mr Thomas] showed me the idea and it seemed nice.

“To do this was quite creative when involving his grandchildren. It’s a nice commemoration.

“We have not had anything along these sort of lines before, but there are memorials in the church in memory of ancestors from World War One.”

Mrs Pratt said the church would be open on Saturday, Sunday and Monday for visitors to view the memorial.

She expects it will be taken down on Monday evening.

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