Touching Remembrance Day tribute created alongside one of Leeds busiest roads

A touching tribute to mark Remembrance Day has been created along one of Leeds busiest roads.

Wednesday, 10th November 2021, 11:40 am

Located on the central reservation at Sheepscar Interchange, on the A58 Claypit Lane, is a striking bed of 2,000 red poppies.

The poppies, a long-standing symbol of Remembrance, surround a lone silhouette of a fallen soldier.

It comes ahead of Remembrance Day 2021, which marks the Armistice which ended the First World War on November 11, 1918.

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Brothers Oliver Thornton (left) and Daniel Thornton of The Waste team.

Remembrance Sunday will be held on November 14 this year.

The central reservation was designed by the Leeds Parks & Countryside service and was commissioned by independent Wortley-based business The Waste Team.

The Waste Team co-owner Oliver Thornton, 39, said: "We sponsor a few sites around the city and have always tried to use them for good, like donating them back to the council during the pandemic and doing month long campaign with Mind.

"As well as paying tribute to the servicemen, we wanted to raise awareness.

"Every year that Remembrance Day passes it tends to mean a bit less to that generation.

"It can sometimes feel like it doesn't get as much recognition as it deserves.

"That reservation sees 85,000 cars drive past a day and it's also quite a slow moving one because of the traffic.

"Hopefully it will give people the opportunity to see it, take it in, and maybe it will become a talking point and they can educate their kids who are in the car."

Mr Thornton, who co-owns the business with brother Daniel, added: "We've got ex-servicemen who work for us, family members who served.

"Even though World War One was 100 years ago, there are still lessons to be learned nowadays."

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Mr Thornton, who lives in Meanwood, said that the response from people has been hugely positive.

He said: "We've had a huge amount of messages and emails, as well as really good comments on Facebook.

"People keep coming up to the lads to say they can't believe how good it is.

"Day to day when people are ringing up booking jobs they're asking about it.

"It's been a feel good thing to do, even though it is such a sad subject.

"It's fantastic that it is really resonating with the people of Leeds."

As well as creating the central reservation tribute, the company are also fundraising for a charity which supports veterans online.

The company has created a Just Giving page to raise money for the SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity.

SSAFA provides lifelong support to anyone who is currently serving or has ever served in the Royal Navy, the Royal Marines, the British Army, or the Royal Air Force.

The Waste Team hopes to raise £2,000 for the charity.

Mr Thornton said: "We reached out to SSAFA as they they look after veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. War is still an ongoing problem.

"As well as social media, we are trying to fundraise when we are out and about.

"Because we're a skip alternative, my guys go into the houses or businesses to take the waste away so we got a lot of customer facing work, so the guys are out there pushing the Just Giving page.

"What we're gonna do nearer the time, if we don't reach our target, is some free jobs to put that money into that target."

He added: "The response has and continues to be amazing, people relate to this on an emotional level with themselves and loved ones who fought for this country.

"It is good to see the city of Leeds come together through a moment of history like this, it shows what an amazing city we are."

You can donate to the Just Giving page online at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thewasteteam