Footprints painted in Ampthill Park to remember Bedfordshire war heroes

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A hundred years ago local men volunteered in droves to train at the Duke of Bedford’s camp in Ampthill Great Park - the recruits had top notch huts and facilities, all paid for by the Duke.

By August 1916 the Ampthill Camp had trained 2,235 local men to fight for ‘King and Country.’

One third of these men, 707, did not return, and many more were wounded.

From November 6 until November 20, you can see the WWI centenary art that provide a focus to remember the men who trained at the Ampthill Camp, and those who were injured or killed.

The centrepiece is Tommy’s Footprints - a column of 707 stencilled footprints flanked by poppies in the hollow of Ampthill Great Park where the men once marched.

The 250 metre long column will glimpse the brave and terrible loss.

In the days that follow Tommy’s Footprints will quietly fade into the ground and disappear, but will not be forgotten.

The project is funded by the Heritage Lottery.

Tommy’s Footprints is the idea of Ampthill resident, Stephen Hartley, who said: “I am delighted with how people are connecting with Tommy’s Footprints.

“This public art is a bold statement that will grace the hollow of Ampthill Great Park.

“Tommy’s Footprints provides a focus for remembering our brave, young men who volunteered to save this land in WWI, leaving their friends and family behind.”

You can see Tommy’s Footprints from until November 20 in Ampthill Great Park and this Sunday there will be a Tommy’s Footprints Remembrance Parade.