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Touching tribute launches Staffordshire Poppy Appeal

Lord Bamford and JCB Academy students

JCB Academy students create unique roll of honour for the fallen of the two world wars

STUDENTS at the JCB Academy have created a unique roll of honour for the fallen of the two world wars to launch the 2016 Staffordshire Poppy Appeal. The youngsters have been researching the heroic exploits of servicemen who died in the two conflicts – many of whom were members of their own families.

Now their study has led to the names of the fallen and some who served and survived being honoured in a moving and striking display at the JCB Academy. The names have been laser-cut on to poppy shapes made from red acrylic and suspended from 35 wires in the Rocester-based school’s reception.

Today, JCB chairman Lord Bamford officially opened the display by hanging the final palm-sized poppy on the display to honour his grandfather’s cousin, Captain Oswald Bamford, who died aged 38 in the Battle of Loos more than 101 years ago. On the day he died 15 other Uttoxeter men also perished in the battle.

JCB Academy student Joe Haynes commemorated his great-great uncle Walter Haynes with a poppy. Private Walter Haynes, of the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry, died in WW2 in Italy in January 1944 aged 25. He was part of an attack in which 600 soldiers died.

Joe said: ‘I didn’t know anything about my great-great uncle Walter until this project began and it has been really interesting to find out about him. I’m also really pleased to have been able to honour him with a poppy.’

Moments after the opening, poppies fell from two balconies overlooking the reception as JCB Academy student Joe Hey played the Last Post.

Lord Bamford commented: ‘The JCB Academy students have created a very moving display. It’s a wonderful tribute to the servicemen who gave their lives for our freedom.’

JCB Academy Principal Jim Wade added: ‘I’m extremely proud of what our students have achieved with this display. It’s important that our young people remember the sacrifices of the past and this wonderfully engineered piece of artwork ensures their memory lives on in a very vibrant way.’

The Royal British Legion’s director of fundraising, Claire Rowcliffe, who attended today’s event, said: ‘The Poppy Appeal 2016 is encouraging the public to recognize the service and sacrifices made across all generations of the British armed forces, and the JCB Academy students encapsulate this message through a moving and very striking display that acknowledges the sacrifices made by those during both world wars.

‘We’re encouraging people to dig deep for this year’s Poppy Appeal to help us raise £43 million. The Legion’s work is entirely dependent on the public’s generous support – so please wear your poppy with pride, knowing that you are helping the armed forces community to live on.’

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