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Wooden art of honour

Mark of respect: The mural made by Eric Yeo (pictured below)

Mark of respect: The mural made by Eric Yeo (pictured below)

It’s amazing what you can do with bits of wooden boarding.

Fleetwood man Eric Yeo has used his skills at DIY and his fascination with the First World War to create this moving tribute to those from Fleetwood and the rest of Britain lost in the conflict.

Eric has fixed the mural to the front bay of his home on Broadway, in a project which took him nine months to complete.

Inspired by this year’s centenary of the start of the 1914-18 war, he began work on the mural last October, intending to finish it in time for August 4 this year – the date when Britain declared war on Germany.

And Eric reached his deadline, too – completing the work at the end of July.

Using 519 letters meticulously carved out with a coping saw, the mural bears a message which begins: “We honour the men who left Fleetwood, villages, towns and cities all over the United Kingdom to endure the indescribable horror of trench warfare.”

Eric, 71, said: “I wanted to create something which paid tribute to the men and women, who lost their lives.

“So many of them had a horrific and dreadful time in that war.

“We will never really understand what they went through.

“The scale of the thing, and the number of people who died, was staggering.

“Hopefully it will help serve as a reminder to our young people about what went on.”

Eric used old kitchen cupboards from a neighbour for some of the work, and rescued strips of thin wooden boarding from Fleetwood tip to fashion the letters and numbers he cut out.

The retired television field service engineer, who is divorced with two grown-up sons, spent most weeks on the project.

He added: “It covers 90 per cent of the upstairs bay, so it’s been quite a big project.”

Eric feels the war, though it came with a terrible cost, may have been necessary, to a point.

He says: “The Kaiser needed to be stopped. The Germans had a powerful Navy and Army and if they’d invaded Britain, we could have had many more British civilian casualties.”

 

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