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  1. ITV Report

Royal Wootton Bassett gifted 'Forever' poppy

Marble poppy Credit: Mark Humphrey

A marble poppy memorial, titled 'Forever', has been gifted to a Wiltshire town in honour of the role it played when fallen soldiers were repatriated to England.

Residents of Royal Wootton Bassett lined the streets when those serving their country in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts made the ultimate sacrifice.

Artist Mark Humphrey created the "Every Man Remembered" memorial for the World War One centenary but wanted to create something as a reminder of the conflicts of his generation.

I wanted to give something back to remember the conflicts of my lifetime.

I was born in RAF Wroughton and my father was in the RAF so it was important to me to do this.

Royal Wootton Bassett played a crucial part in the repatriations of soldiers and I wanted to say thank you to the town which served our armed forces.

The poppy points towards the town and it has 12 spotlights around it to resemble a clock face.

It's taken a year to make from the first initial sketches to lowering the poppy into the town.

– Mark Humphrey
Mark Humphrey and the marble poppy Credit: Mark Humphrey

In 2011 military repatriations through Royal Wootton Bassett stopped. By then the bodies of 345 service personnel passed through the Wiltshire town.

In recognition of its role the town was given the title 'Royal' Wootton Bassett.

Ian Ferries, Mayor of Royal Wootton Bassett, says the marble poppy is a symbol of the town and people will be able to remember the important part it played during the repatriations.

I couldn't believe it when Mark said he wanted to do this - it was just amazing.

The poppy itself is called Forever, it will be here forever and it will represent what Royal Wootton Bassett did forever.

– Ian Ferries,Mayor of Royal Wootton Bassett
Sketches of the poppy before it was made Credit: Mark Humphrey

An official unveiling of the memorial will take place next year.