See what the BBC said about our exhibition… they also sent a film crew who did a live broadcast at lunchtime followed by a longer broadcast in the early evening East Midlands Today programme.
Coalville’s wooden WW1 soldiers depict ‘Famous Fifty’
The wooden soldiers were painted and decorated by members of the public
Life-size wooden soldiers representing 50 men who fought in World War One have been decorated and put on display with a trench in their home town.
The “Famous Fifty” were specially selected volunteers from the Coalville area of Leicestershire who went to fight on the Western Front in 1914.
Due to their mining background many of the men became tunnellers, but only 22 ever returned home.
Organiser Julia Burkin said the project has brought the soldiers back to life.
Hundreds of people in Coalville decorated the wooden cut-outs after they were sent to schools, colleges and other organisations, for the exhibition at the Market Hall.
People were also encouraged to find out about the lives of the men and speak to living relatives.
Ms Burkin said: “[The project] has been more than just about decorating cut-outs, we’ve been living, breathing and sleeping the men’s stories.
“It brings it home what war feels like.”
Organises said the project has brought the soldiers back to life
The idea of honouring the men came from a book titled Fifty Good Men and True by Michael Kendrick.
He told the BBC that following the deaths of so many soldiers in August 1914, “tough, hardy” volunteers were needed and Coalville was selected as the place to find them.
They marched off from St John the Baptist Church, in Hugglescote, to the train station in Coalville, with thousands of people cheering them, Mr Kendrick said.
“In the main they were kept together for several months, but obviously every now and again one of them would get shot or shelled.”
Only 22 of them returned home after many had been used as tunnellers – some were entombed at Vimy Ridge during the Battle of Arras, in 1917.
The Famous Fifty exhibition will be in Coalville Market Hall until 2 December.