A former soldier is paying tribute to fallen comrades with a thought-provoking display of 456 poppy crosses.
Steve Briddon, 36, and his wife Fay, 30, have created the unusual memorial in the unlikely surroundings of Oscar’s Cafe and Wine Bar in Holmfirth.
The wooden crosses are suspended from the ceiling in the busy bar at the Rotcher Road premises, which the couple own.
Each of the 456 cross bears the name and details of a British serviceman or woman killed in Afghanistan.
Steve served a six-month tour in Afghanistan during his seven-year career in the forces. He was in the war-torn country during the winter of 2010-11 with the Royal Military Police attached to 16th Air Assault.
His duties included photographing the locations where British soldiers had been killed and collecting forensic evidence. He was also awarded a Joint Commander Commendation for his bravery in capturing a Taliban bomb maker.
Steve said he decided to create a memorial “with impact” because the generation of men and women whose comrades are remembered on traditional village war memorials “are slowly leaving us.” He added: “It sounds corny, but it is important that we remember.”
He said the aim of the display was to create an environment for people who would not be attending Remembrance Sunday services to reflect.
Steve began the project by contacting the Royal British Legion to get the crosses.
Then he went on the Ministry of Defence website to download the names of the fallen. Over the course of eight hours, Steve dictated the details for Fay, 30, to write on the crosses.
Installing them in the bar took a further nine hours – with Holmfirth firefighters Chris Lunn and Richard Robinson helping out. CV Graphics Ltd, of Fenay Bridge, also provided logos to put on the windows of the bar.
Steve, who aims to raise £500 for the Poppy Appeal by collecting donations by patrons, family and friends, said his grandfather, Donald Crosland, was a D-Day veteran while his great grandfather, Charles Crosland had served in the First World War. Fay’s grandfather, Ronnie Brass, was a dentist in the forces during the Second World War.
The display of crosses will remain until November 12. Steve said it was hoped the 456 crosses would feature each year – with other organisations taking it in turns to use them to create a spectacular and poignant display of their own.