A STUNNING Remembrance display unveiled in Alloa and dedicated to a fallen WWII soldier was paid a special visit last week.

Around 5,000 handmade poppies were pieced together for the artwork which sat on the grounds of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the corner of the West End Park.

At the centre of the display stands a 2.4 metre tall Tommy soldier, created at Wee County Men's Shed in Tillicoultry in collaboration with the organisers from the church.

He represents the many men and women who have served the country, past and present.

Pinned on his chest is a single heart-shaped poppy – which was dedicated to Scottish soldier David Charles Alexander, who was killed in action in 1945.

He was only 20 when he made the ultimate sacrifice at Stein in Germany on January 18 in what turned out to be the final year of the war.

The poppy was dedicated to David by the Poppy Committee at the church in what could be explained by the theory of six degrees of separation.

It just so happens that committee chair Penny Casey's cousin Patricia lives in Sittard in the Netherlands where David's grave is located in the town's Commonwealth Memorial Cemetery.

A friend of Patricia, Elisabeth, adopted the grave in 2020 and on hearing about the ongoing poppy project at the Alloa church, she knitted and sent 76 poppies to Penny in Menstrie.

Elisabeth was also able to track down a living relative of David, his brother Charles who is 86 and lives in Edinburgh, who came along to see the sight for himself last week.

Charles has already been to visit in Menstrie, the original seat of the Alexander clan, and it was there the seed for a partnership with the Wee County Men's Shed were sewn following a suggestion by Cllr Les Sharp.

Poppy committee member Mandy Watson, a highly skilled and award-winning furniture maker, was put in charge of creating the outline of the soldier for the display and she joined forces with shedders Jim and Scott for the cut out.

The Tommy is cut from marine ply with his rifle and stand made from 6mm steel plate and supported by a wooden A frame.

To protect him from the inclement Scottish November weather, Mandy ensured the soldier is wearing 12 coats of outdoor paint.

The project has managed to connect people, through the past, from Menstrie through the Netherlands to Edinburgh.

Speaking about Charles' visit, Mandy told the Advertiser: “He is the sharpest, funniest, loveliest guy that I've met in a long time.

“He was so touched by everything that we pulled together.”

Thanks go to Jim, Scott, Gavin and more from the Wee County Men's Shed, Mandy's neighbour Robert for material for the soldier's rifle and metal stand, Beatsons and Buicks for material, Angela and volunteers from Resonate for helping with the installation and more.