A PUBLIC meeting of residents from Royal Wootton Bassett has voted unanimously to reconstruct the fallen white marble poppy.

The four and a half tonne poppy entitled 'Forever', made from imported Italian marble, was gifted to the town by artist Mark Humphrey.

It commemorates 355 fallen service personnel repatriated through Royal Wootton Bassett, but collapsed in October 2017, sparking a controversial debate between the council about whether it could be remade and the town who had grown fond of the artists's work.

Speaking to the packed hall of local residents Mark revealed drawings of a design for a frame for the broken poppy to be held in.

He said: "This is a very emotional moment for me. I have a sketch using the poppy in a metal frame. It's safe, it can work and it won't be very expensive."

Tensions between the town council and the artist about the cause of the poppy's fall also surfaced.

The artist took aim at the council who he accused of ignoring the report carried out by Tobin Engineers which found that the fall of the poppy was the result of the underground engineering, not the structure of the poppy itself.

To move the debate on Counsellor Steve Bucknell told the hall: "It's got to be something which brings us back together, rather than divides us. Let's move forward."

After a unanimous show of hands in favour of creating a frame for the poppy to be reborn, ideas were written down on green cards which the town council agreed to look through to recreate, rather than replace the symbolic monument.

Some suggested that the fallen poppy might even be used to create a more powerful message if it returned.

Gareth Reed, 60 from Royal Wootton Bassett, came up with the idea of re-creating the position the poppy was in after it fell, to represent those who had fallen in battle.

"We all got used to it," he told the Adver. "It represented so much to people. It added to the town and made us proud and we would like to see it back."

Anne Bevis, from the town, and involved in repatriations in Iraq and Afghanistan, added: "We would like to see the poppy reconstructed in a safe manner. It's a symbol of respect to those who gave their lives in the course of duty.

"It's nice for the families to go and visit and see that they've been honoured. It became a symbol of the town."