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Uppingham man to take signed football to Western Front

Steve Buzzard with the football signed by Uppingham residents that he intends to take to the Western Front. Photo: Alan Walters MSMP090814-002aw EMN-141108-112333001

Steve Buzzard with the football signed by Uppingham residents that he intends to take to the Western Front. Photo: Alan Walters MSMP090814-002aw EMN-141108-112333001

An ex-serviceman has prepared a unique memorial to remember those who lost their lives in the First World War.

Steve Buzzard, of Branston Road, Uppingham, has been asking residents of the town to sign a football which he plans to leave at a war memorial in Belgium.

He will visit the Khaki Chums Memorial in Ploegsteert with friends later this month. The memorial is believed to be at the site of a football match between troops during the Christmas Day truce in 1914.

He hopes to include the signature of at least one person from every street in the town.

Steve, 55, said: “I’ve had a very positive reaction from people. They have all been more than happy to sign it.

“I think it’s incredibly important for us to remember those who died for their country. We have to make sure we pass on this information to future generations.”

Ninety-five per cent of Uppingham’s streets have already been included after Steve took the ball to the Uppingham fete, flower and produce show and an exhibition at the church. He is confident of reaching every street in the town before his trip later this month.

Steve, a campus and community officer at New College Stamford, has visited battlefields and war memorials in France and Belgium for the last six years. During that time he has visited the resting place of 17 out of the 42 men from Uppingham who lost their lives.

He said: “I have a passion for history and as an ex-serviceman myself I like to go and pay my respects to those who died in the Great War.”

He has also spent the last two years putting together an exhibition about Uppingham’s soldiers as part of the town’s events to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the war and hopes to create a website to showcase his work.

He added: “I wanted to build up a record of each man who died to give local people access to an archive. If Uppingham ever gets its own museum, I would love for it to be included.”

 

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