Over the week, 65,000 visitors came to see the shrouds. It was like nothing else, ever.
On the Sunday, we were just closing up, crowds were thinning out. A chap came up to me and asked me if I was the artist. He said his great uncle had died on the first day of the Somme and his body hadn’t been recovered. He wandered off, then came back to me a bit later and said ‘so he’s laying out there somewhere’. I said ‘yes, I can’t tell you which one, but he certainly passed through my hands and I said his name aloud’. He replied ‘so for the first time, he’s laying on British soil again after 100 years.’ I was gobsmacked and said if the only reason we did all of this work was for that one statement, then it was worth it. The hook though was in – I thought I’d done the wrong number, I should have done the men who are still laying out there. It was a pivotal moment and the beginning of the next stage.