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Victoria Cross to take pride of place near entrance to the Abbey Gardens...

Victoria Cross to take pride of place near entrance to the Abbey Gardens

Standing at 7ft 6ins tall a giant wooden replica of the Victoria Cross is to grace an area close to the entrance of the Abbey Gardens, in Bury St Edmunds, as part of the World War 1 Trail. It’s been lovingly carved and created by Mike Wells at his A J Joinery business, in Cockfield, with the help of one of his employees Jon Andrews.


And it is planned to be set up close to the Angel Hill gates of the gardens as part of the trail which is being organised by the My WiSH Charity and Our Bury St Edmunds, the business improvement district (BID) in the town.


The medal is 5ft square and hewn out of MDF (medium density fibreboard) Tricoya and treated with an acid to preserve its life and sits on wooden ribbon which is covered with material.


Mike and Jon have spent countless hours honing out the medal from the wood which is now nearing completion after they obtained the design from Hancock’s Jewellers in London. And they were also aided in the design with a metal clasp supplied by Warren Services, in Thetford.


Mike, whose other business A J Laminated Beams along with builders’ and engineers’ merchants D J Evans, in St Botolphs Lane, Bury St Edmunds, who are the joint sponsors of the medal, said he wanted to provide the piece of wood art as a thank you to the West Suffolk Hospital for the care and attention he received when he suffered a heart attack two years ago.


He has subsequently had three stents fitted since then and had many hours of physiotherapy treatment to aid his recovery.


For the trail will feature 18 pieces, commissioned by local artists and sculptors, dotted in prime town centre sites and will be on show from July 21, through to Armistice Day, on November 11. At the culmination of the trail an auction will take place to sell off all of the pieces to go to the My WiSH Charity’s Every Heart Matters appeal.


Mike added: “The hospital staff have all been fantastic and what I am keen to do is to raise money for the West Suffolk as I want to give something back to the NHS who have helped me so much.


“It’s nice to be part of the trail and will be my way of giving something back to the hospital.” And Richard Evans, director of D J Evans, said: “We think it’s good to be involved with local things and it’s nice that the cross was being built by a local joinery firm and we were keen to get involved.”


The West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is investing £5.2m in developing a state of the art cardiac suite that will provide quicker access to more treatments, but the £500,000 My WiSH Charity is hoping to raise will lead to the whole unit, which is currently fragmented on different floors, being brought together in one purpose-built centre.


Treatt, the leading beverage ingredient solutions manufacturer based in Bury St Edmunds, will be the main sponsor for the trail, and Daemmon Reeve, group CEO, said: “It’s fantastic to be able to support this ambitious and exciting project which remembers the bravery of those who fought in World War One and is also helping to raise the £500,000 needed to fund the brand new cardiac centre at the hospital.”


If you want to support the Every Heart Matters appeal go to the and if you would like to donate to the appeal you can do so by going to: or text EHMA17 £10 to 70070.


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2nd Floor, 2 Woolhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 1LA   01284 766258