Copper Wreath commemorates WWII veteran Bob Cairns

HEARTFELT CREATION- West Lake's Gil Large created a copper wreath made of poppies for WWII veteran Bob Cairns. The Mississauga man served the Allied war effort as a radio operator in the Royal Canadian Navy (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)




A retired sheet metal worker has put his hammer and cutting shears to copper this summer and created a decorative remembrance wreath for a World War II veteran.

Gil Large spends his summers at the Hideaway Trailer Park on West Lake with his wife Lynn and estimates he spent over 50 hours creating a copper wreath to commemorate the service of 98-year-old World War II veteran Bob Cairns. Mr. Cairns of Mississauga served the allied effort as a radio operator in the Royal Canadian Navy and is a relation to Lynn through marriage.

The retired French Brothers Roofing superintendent said since stepping away from the industrial trade, he has enjoyed creating a number of decorative works but his most current creation is the first wreath he’s made. A total of 16 poppies surround a name plate that is adorned with Mr. Cairns name and part of the first verse of In Flanders Fields.

“It’s all been made here at the trailer and we’ve donated everything-the time and the materials- to Bob’s family,” Mr. Large said.

The wreath won’t be the first commemorative piece of art Mr. Large has sent to Streetsville. Just five years ago, he crafted an eight foot copper cross adorned with poppies that was presented to Branch 139 in September of 2018.

“There isn’t too many World War II veterans around anymore and we honour them when they are dead,” Mr. Large added. “This was a chance to honour one who is still alive and tell him how much we appreciate his sacrifice.”