Poignant memorial book created as part of the World War 1 Trail

A poignant book made out of English oak, elm and mahogany has been created by master craftsman Den Humphrey as part of the World War 1 Trail in Bury St Edmunds.

He has made the 3ft tall artwork with two pages, both 2ft 6ins wide, at his Out of Our Tree workshop at Gosfield, near Halstead.

It is part of the trail organised by the MyWiSH Charity and Our Bury St Edmunds, the business improvement district (BID) in the town and is set to be displayed inside St John’s Church, in St John’s Street, throughout the trail which runs from July 21 to Armistice Day, on November 11.

It’s one of three pieces he is making for the trail along with a Serpentine Trench and a Poppy Bench.

The wooden book has two verses carved onto its two pages. One is the classic “For The Fallen” by Laurence Bingon and the other “In Flanders Field” by John McRae with both dedicated to those killed in the conflict.

Den said: “It’s a big book of remembrance and it’s aimed at being thought-provoking for people. It’s not for people to think just about those who died in the war and what they did for us and the country but it’s also to remember those who returned from the conflict and survived the battles and horror.”

He said how his grandfather and great uncles took part in the First World War and survived which prompted his ideas and thoughts of the wooden book.

“My grandfather Traffield was in the Home Guard at Harwich and his brothers Octavius, who fought in the Battle of Cabrai, and Hazel and Johan, who were both in the Navy, made it through the war. My father Maurice also took part in the D-Day landings in the Second World War driving fuel tankers and my brother Peter was a member of the 7thParachute Regiment.

“There are lots of memorial to those who died but not many for those who survived and I had this in the back of my mind when creating the book. Everyone tends to remember those who died but not those who lived through it,” he added.

The trail will feature 18 pieces, commissioned by local artists and sculptors, dotted in prime town centre sites. At its culmination an auction will take place to sell off all of the pieces to go to the My WiSH Charity’s Every Heart Matters appeal which is aiming to raise £500,000 for a new cardiac unit at the West Suffolk Hospital.

The West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is investing £5.2m in developing a state of the art cardiac suite that will provide quicker access to more treatments, but the £500,000 My WiSH Charity is hoping to raise will lead to the whole unit, which is currently fragmented on different floors, being brought together in one purpose-built centre.

Treatt, the leading beverage ingredient solutions manufacturer based in Bury St Edmunds, will be the main sponsor for the trail, and Daemmon Reeve, group CEO, said:  “It’s fantastic to be able to support this ambitious and exciting project which remembers the bravery of those who fought in World War One and is also helping to raise the £500,000 needed to fund the brand new cardiac centre at the hospital.”

If you want to support the Every Heart Matters appeal go to the websitewww.mywishcharity.co.uk and if you would like to donate to the appeal you can do so by going to: Justgiving.com/ehma or text EHMA17 £10 to 70070.

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