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Trench project could go ahead on Burton Washlands

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 07, 2014

27/02/14 WW1 trench fund-raiser

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UNUSED land outside Burton Library could be transformed into a section of First World War trench to teach about the realities of life on the Western Front.

The Ting Tang Theatre Company must raise £4,000 to build the 15-meter-long trench.

The project would be based on Burton soldiers who served with the 1/6 North Staffordshire Regiment, known as the ‘Burton Boys’.

The group’s creative director – history mad Tom Fermor – said the undertaking could teach children about the conflict ahead of commemorations to mark the centenary of its outbreak in August.

The 33-year-old said: “We are hoping that everyone and anyone will benefit from it,

“It’s all very well listing off statistics from the war, but we want to concentrate on the real people and the people of Burton.

“It is those people and their lives that we will concentrate on so it is about creating a living memorial for the people of Burton who helped to securing out future.”

Businesses and individuals from across East Staffordshire have been invited to sponsor one of the 1,000 sandbags needed to build the structure for £4 each.

Once this is raised, the first steps can be taken to construct the trench out of timber and corrugated iron on Burton Washland, where it will be built – not dug - due to flood risks.

The eight-foot-high trench will include duckboard walkways, wide enough to allow for disabled access, firing steps and dugouts.

Mr Fermor is hoping to finalise plans with East Staffordshire Borough Council, who he has been talks with over the plans.

Once this happens, it is hoped work could begin early enough for it to be finished by July, though Mr Fermor added the date could be pushed back to September when pupils are back at school.

In order to raise the cash Mr Fermor will be fund-raising in Burton’s Coopers Square shopping centre on Saturday, May 31.

Two weeks later, on June 14, shoppers will have the chance to sponsor a sandbag which could include a personalised message.

Mr Fermor said: “We will ask if people want to sponsor a sandbag.

“For four pounds people can sponsor one and put their memories, or the name of someone they want to remember on there.”

A borough council spokesman said officers had held talks about the trench, but details about land use and planning permission had not been finalised.

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