Forces and families can sign the mural as an enduring act of remembrance
After eighteen years in the army, parachutist-turned-landlord John Price wanted to find a way for his Greater Manchester pub to honour veterans and fallen comrades.
That’s why the 46 year-old father of four has established a commemorative mural on the wall of the Fox Inn, Blackley, where ex service men and women can inscribe their names and service numbers as an enduring act of remembrance.
Amongst the first to leave their details on the wall of the Joseph Holt pub was WW2 hero Ray Shuck; a former paratrooper for The Parachute Regiment. One of the first British troops to land in France on D-Day, Shuck miraculously survived the 1944 Normandy landings, despite being shot in the head by a German sniper.
The 95-year-old Boltonian last year became an online sensation, when a video of him paying respects on Armistice Day - aided from his wheelchair by young paratroopers - was shared worldwide. He died this January.
Price said: “We have a large military community in Blackley, but word about the mural has spread far and wide. So if someone ex (or current) military is in the area to visit family, they come and pay their respects and leave their name on the mural too.
“It’s heartening to watch the names accumulating on the wall and to remember all those who have served this country. I also love the fact people write names of loved ones they have lost, such as a chap who has left his grandfather’s name and service number from his time fighting in the First World War.”
Price himself was a member the 2nd Battalion Parachute Regiment. As part of the frontline infantry, he served in Iraq, Sierra Leone, Northern Ireland and Macedonia. He also completed tours of Afghanistan, surviving an explosion on one tour that left him with a shattered knee.
Price was inspired to create the mural after his fiancée and colleague, Louise Williams, encouraged him to attend a Remembrance parade at the Cenotaph. “I’d never wanted to go before because it was just too painful to remember all those friends I had lost. Once I’d been, I realised I needed to do something myself.”
He has now added a second mural, in The Fox’s garden, on which ex-servicemen and women can hang their badges.
“The beauty of a remembrance mural in a pub is that people come in all the time. So they read the mural and look at the badges and pay their respects when they stand and look. The pub is a lively, happy place and it reflects the vitality of those young men and women who gave so much to this country.”
The Fox Inn, 97 Old Market St, Manchester, M9 8QG