Veterans needed to meet demand for Penshurst inspired silhouette project

    The manufacturers of the ‘Tommies’ project have been so inundated with orders that they have issued a plea for volunteers to help out.

    The 10 inch statuettes for the There But Not There scheme are being made mainly by former servicemen to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

    As featured in the Times this month, the initiative comes from an art installation in Penshurst and its St John the Baptist Church by local artist Martin Barraud.

    He created silhouettes of soldiers for hedgerows and Perspex heads for the pews of the church in November 2016 to commemorate the 51 servicemen from Penshurst who died in the Great War.

    Recruit

    The creation has gained global recognition as part of a campaign to raise £15million for armed forces and mental health charities.

    Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI), which is based in Aylesford  has been commissioned to produce the smaller-scale model Tommies through its Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company.

    This social enterprise employs more than 100 people, 70 per cent of whom are either ex-service personnel, have a physical or mental disability
    or both.

    However, the demand for this product has been so high that RBLI are seeking help from other veterans to join the production line.

    “Due to a surge in orders RBLI are looking to recruit volunteers. Any hours you can commit will help us deliver this amazing project.”

    The 10-inch-tall Perspex model Tommies cost £29.99 including commemorative packaging, and can be purchased online at shop.therebutnotthere.org.uk