The centenary of the death of The Lonely ANZAC will be commemorated in Peterborough thanks to National Lottery support.
A Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant for £8,600 has been awarded to Peterborough City Council to help mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Sergeant Thomas Hunter.
The funding will support the project ‘The Lonely ANZAC A Man Far From Home’, a colourful hand felted commemorative blanket that will be laid at Peterborough War Memorial on Sunday 31 July.
People will learn his story and take part in workshops to create hand felted poppies and flags of countries involved in the First World War.
The poppies and flags will surround the blanket’s centrepiece created by Peterborough artist Charron Pugsley-Hill and artisan felter Eve Marshall.
A film of the project and Sergeant Hunter’s history is also being created.
Sergeant Hunter was a member of the 10th Battalion of the 10th Division of the Australian army. He was in action at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 where he was shot in the spine and partially paralysed.
It was whilst being transferred by train to Halifax, Yorkshire that his condition deteriorated. The train made an emergency stop at Peterborough and he was taken to Peterborough Hospital (now Peterborough Museum) where he died.
Following his death, people took flowers to the hospital and Peterborough came to a standstill for his funeral as thousands paid their respects to a fallen soldier with no family or friends to grieve his passing.
He was buried at Peterborough Cemetery and a plaque in Peterborough Cathedral commemorates his life.
Charron Pugsley-Hill said: “We are thrilled to have received this support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and thank Peterborough City Council for their help.
“Peterborough is the final resting place of Sergeant Hunter and the city has a proud tradition of marking the anniversary of his death.
“This year will be the 100th anniversary and the project to create a hand crafted commemorative blanket as well holding workshops and filming a video is a fitting way to mark the occasion. We hope lots of people get involved.”
The grant was awarded through Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War Then and Now programme.
Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: “Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players we’re pleased to support this project which will enable the city’s century long tradition of marking the life and death of Sergeant Thomas Hunter to continue and explore the legacy of the First World War for Peterborough.”