With our Pennies for our Heroes campaign at an end we have been taking a look back over the nine months since we launched the appeal.
Since January, we have been bringing you stories, as part of our campaign, of the brave soldiers and their families from the Ripley and Heanor area, as we raise funds to commemorate these fallen World War One heroes.
Thanks to the generosity of our readers we have raised £645 and will be able to plant three trees – one in Ripley, Heanor and Alfreton.
During World War One, the total number of soldiers from the British Empire armed forces killed reached 908,000 with many young men coming from our area.
Since launching the appeal we’ve received an extraordinary response from readers who have not only helped us raise vital funds to plant our ‘living memorials’ to fall during the Great War of 1914 to 1918, but readers have helped us tell the stories of ordinary people from the area who did extraordinary things during the bloody conflict.
Among them was Victoria Cross medal winner Bombardier Charles Stone, who was commended for his heroic actions on March 21, 1918, at Caponne Farm, France, where he held the enemy at bay in a brave last stand.
There was also Walter Charity, who was awarded the Military Medal for bravery after pulling his comrades out of the trenches by stretcher, despite being badly injured himself.
And Horace James Grainger, a soldier who fought with the Sherwood Foresters from 1914 up until the First World War’s end in 1918.
Chairman of the Ripley branch of the Dean Fowler, of the Ripley branch of the Royal British Legion said: “I would like to thank the generosity of the local people of Ripley and Amber Valley for contributing to such a worthwhile cause.
“It’s most heartwarming to see some of the tributes written on the fallen and the sacrifice they made for their country.
“Lest we forget.”
Julie Crouch, editor of the Ripley & Heanor News, said: “We came up with the idea for Pennies for Our Heroes appeal as we felt since it was 100 years since the outbreak of World War One we wanted to do something that would serve as a reminder for generations to come of the great sacrifice so many ordinary young men made back then.
“We also know that times are hard and even though our readers are always very generous, we knew they could not spare huge amounts, so we came up with the idea of donating pennies and loose change – and boy did you donate bucket loads!
“I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Amber Valley Borough Council, particularly the reception staff at Ripley, for supporting us during this appeal and acting as a collection point for donations.”