Our Pennies for our Heroes campaign is picking up pace - with several kind readers dropping off their coin-filled jam jars towards the News’ bid to plant World War One memorial trees.
a fortnight ago we launched the ‘Pennies for our Heroes’ appeal in a bid to raise enough money to plant mighty oaks in Ripley, Heanor and Alfreton.
We are calling on readers to donate their small change, the sort we all collect in a jam jars, as we know how tight times are, so we can plant these fitting reminders in parks in the three towns.
We hope to raise enough to install plaques by the trees in much the same way as we did in 2012, when we successfully planted three established oaks in each of the towns to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
We have teamed up with Amber Valley Borough Council, which has agreed to source the trees and arrange for the planting to be carried out.
The authority has also kindly agreed to allow readers to drop off their coin-filled jam jars in the reception of its headquarters at Market Place, Ripley, during opening hours.
News editor Julie Crouch said: “These trees will one day grow into mighty monuments for our children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren to remember.
“When we ran a similar campaign for the jubilee it was a massive success and there is no reason we can’t do the same again.
“So dig into those pockets, delve behind that sofa and let’s plant a lasting memento in the town we can all be proud of.”
The News is also helping Ripley’s Royal British Legion to gather as much information as it can about our local soldiers that fought in World War One, which could even feature on a spectacular new memorial in Crossley Park.
Chairman of the branch Dean Fowler said: “We are hoping, with the help of Amber Valley Borough Council, to have a new memorial at Crossley Park that is a standalone piece for the town folk of Ripley to learn and reflect.”
Mr Fowler said this could take the shape of a ‘timeline’ following a fictional character from Ripley, who signs up to fight for his country at the start of the wa and says it could be in place by the end of 2014.
he added: “This will be a story timeline involving a fictional character we are calling Tommy.
“The idea is it will show him coming form his family life and then his excitement at wanting to go to war when it broke out.
“It is to give people an idea of what life was like at the time.
“If you can imagine a young lad, still at school, excited at signing up with his friends and not to mention glad at the fact soldiers got paid. The aim is to show that early excitement through to the war itself.”
The Ripley branch is particularly interested in finding a rare photograph which might be in circulation among people in the area.
It shows enlisted soldiers leading from Ripley market place at the start of the conflict in 1914 in front of a large crowd.
If you have a copy of the picture then be sure to get in touch with us here at the news by emailing us at email@example.com, or calling our offices on 0115 9446160 on a Monday or Tuesday.
Vice chairman of the branch Stuart Joynes says the centenary commemorations this year are particularly poignant to him as his great uncle James William Joynes may have been one of those young faces in the picture.
Sadly James, of Greenwich, Ripley, was just 20 when he was killed.
The soldier served with the 10th bn Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby regiment) and died near the end of the war on September 25, 1918.
Amber Valley Borough councillor for Ripley CllrJoynes is hoping folk will dig deep for our Pennies for our Heroes campaign.
He said: “I would urge everyone to give generously to the campaign.
“I’m sure a lot of people in Ripley have family connections as well as me.”
You can leave your jam jars/pennies with the reception staff at Amber Valley Borough Council’s central office on Market Place, Ripley.
You can also drop them at Market Place Cafe, Market Place, Ripley. Just ask staff for details.
At our offices at 8 Heanor Road, Ilkeston, DE7 8ER.
And to help the Ripley branch of the British Legion with information on our war heroes, contact us at the News via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or over the phone on 0115 9446180.