A POIGNANT memorial to those who died fighting for their country in the First World War has been unveiled.

VIP guests attended a special ceremony in Little Totham on Friday – the 100th anniversary of the Treaty of Versailles, which marked the formal, official ending of the Great War.

The memorial is made up of three steel Tommy figures that have been installed in a small garden of remembrance next to the village sign.

Guests included Lord Lieutenant of Essex Jennifer Tolhurst, MP Priti Patel, parish council chairman and district councillor Richard Siddall, and Maldon District Council chairman Bob Boyce.

Mr Siddall said: “I must give my thanks to everyone who contributed to the memorial fund.

"Without your generosity and support, this memorial would not be here.

"I would like to express my appreciation to those who have worked so hard to install the memorial.

"The village and I were also gratified that so many honoured guests could be with us today for the unveiling, helping to make it such a special occasion.

"The sacrifices so many made for us a century ago should never be forgotten and this memorial is a fitting, permanent tribute to their bravery.”

Ms Patel, who laid a wreath in memory of the fallen, said: "The show of emotion and, indeed, passion from so many people across our country on Armistice Day last November, 100 years after the ending of the Great War, demonstrated that those who gave their lives so long ago have not been forgotten.

"In fact, their memory and the sacrifice they made, burns as brightly as ever in the national psyche.

"Nowhere more brightly than in Little Totham, where the installation of a wooden Tommy, was particularly well supported and received, so much so that the Parish Council decided that there should be a permanent war memorial and set about raising the funds necessary to make this happen.

“I should like to thank Little Totham Parish Council and, in particular, its chairman Richard Siddall and all the individuals that contributed to the fund that has made this permanent memorial to the fallen a reality.

"The enthusiasm your village has displayed for this memorial does you great credit and I am very proud that you are a part of my constituency.”