site managers installing Tommy figure at Braid Park, Tiverton

Ex-Army site managers install Tommy figures in show home gardens across Devon

Authored by WendyS
Posted: Saturday, May 15, 2021 - 08:57

More than a dozen commemorative Tommy figures have been installed in Barratt David Wilson Homes show home gardens across Devon this month in time to mark VE Day on 8th May.

The leading housebuilder is the first corporate patron of the new Tommy Club, a fundraising initiative launched by the Royal British Legion Industries charity (RBLI) to raise money to support armed forces veterans. 

Site manager and ex Royal Engineer Chris Spencer, who is managing the construction at Braid Park, Tiverton, says it’s a great honour to install the figure in their show home garden and in dozens of others across Devon and the South West.

Chris served for 11 years in the Royal Engineer’s Counter IED taskforce, including in Iraq and Afghanistan. He began working for Barratt Homes five years ago under the company’s Armed Forces Transition Programme. Chris will be joined by assistant site manager Ben Trussler, who served for 20 years in the Royal Engineers, completing tours in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Ben is due to take over the management of Braid Park’s construction from Chris at the end of this week, having completed his three-year training under the same programme.

Barratt Homes has donated £100,000 to the Tommy Club and has purchased 300 full size Tommy figures to show their support for the charity. The Tommy Club is a membership organisation with all money raised going to help veterans of all ages to gain independence and overcome challenges including mental and physical disability.

Chris Spencer, site manager at Braid Park, a development of 180 new 2, 3 and 4 bedroom homes from Barratt Homes and David Wilson Homes, says:

“It’s a real honour to be able to put the Tommy figure in pride of place in our show home garden at Braid Park and to see them going into our developments across Devon and the South West. I’ve been very fortunate to start a new career with Barratt Developments after leaving the army five years ago, but it’s not always an easy transition for everyone. The RBLI does fantastic work improving the lives of people who have given so much and we’re proud to be able to support their work.”

The term Tommy was coined during WWI when German soldiers would call out to ‘Tommy’ across No Man’s Land if they wanted to speak to a British soldier.  The Tommy figure, with head bowed, has become a universal symbol of gratitude and commemoration to all those who have served in the armed forces. 

Each garden Tommy is put together by veterans working for the RBLI’s unique social enterprise; Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company, which creates more jobs for ex-armed forces personnel and raises crucial funds for the charity. The RBLI has been providing jobs, homes, and mental health support for ex services personnel throughout the worst of the current pandemic. 

The following Barratt and David Wilson Homes developments in Devon will have a new Tommy figure in their show home gardens:

  • Tarka Ridge, Barnstaple – 135 homes, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom, set in Yelland with beautiful views over the Taw-Torridge Estuary, allotments and close to the Tarka Trail
  • Raleigh Holt, Barnstaple – 86 homes. 2, 3 and 4 bedroom, within walking distance of Barnstaple town centre and surrounded by Devon countryside
  • Embden Grange, Tavistock – 110 homes, 2, 3 4 and 5 bedroom, with stunning views over the Dartmoor Countryside
  • Berry Acres, Paignton - 192-homes, 2,3 and 4 bedroom, to the west of Paignton. Wildlife-rich with plenty of open space and a play area, with easy access to the beach

Nicki Reid, sales director at Barratt David Wilson Homes Exeter said: “We’re incredibly proud to be the first corporate sponsor of the Tommy Club.  We have been really moved and impressed by the amazing work the RBLI does supporting ex-services personnel and their families. This is a cause we know is important to lots of our staff, many of whom have proud military careers themselves, and to our home buyers. These impressive Tommy figures will not only act as a reminder of the debt of gratitude we owe to our veterans, but also highlight the great work the charity does.”