Visitors to Melton’s war memorial this Christmas got the chance to sit on a special circular seat commissioned to mark this year’s 100th anniversary of one of the pivotal battles in the First World War.
The furniture in the Memorial Gardens at Egerton Lodge is marked with images of a poppy and soldiers going into battle.
It honours service personnel from the borough who fell in the Great War and, specifically, at the Battle of the Somme on the Western Front.
The commemorative seat came about from an idea by Melton Town Estate feoffee John Southerington, who saw something similar while on holiday in Pitlochry in Scotland.
He said: “We noticed these seats near the town’s war memorial and thought they were very eye-catching and they would be just the thing to go with the World War One information boards the town estate installed in the Memorial Gardens.
“The most eye-catching thing was the bright red of the poppy against the black outline of the soldiers against the barbed wire, as if they were ‘going over the top’.”
Mr Southerington took photos, made a note of the maker’s details and set about having a circular seat with the same design made for Melton.
A new tree was also planted alongside the seat - a Japanese Katsura, also known as a ‘candy floss tree’.
Mr Southerington added: “This was chosen because the tree is rather special too. In Spring its leaves are deep red, in summer they become bright green and in autumn they turn golden yellow.”
The new seat has been installed in a year where special interpretation boards have been put beside the war memorial giving details of Melton’s fallen in conflicts over the last century.
Some of them contain information about the 247 servicemen who died during the First World War, with photos and their service records, where once the memorial just listed names.
The project, which is intended to inform future generations, came about through a research and fundraising campaign launched by the town estate in partnership with the Melton Times.