AN ARTIST is looking to find the family who placed flowers in a village phone box turned art gallery.

John Hay, of Barningham, wants to get in touch with the people who left a bunch of yellow sunflowers in memory of Thomas Shepherd, a soldier from the First World War and their grandfather.

The flowers were left with a card which read: “Thomas Shepherd, granddad, always remembered, always in our hearts. Elizabeth, Rosie & Dianna. Thank you for giving your life so we could be free.”

He said: “My 1907 record has him at the Post Office/shop in Barningham and unfortunately I had just missed the family on Sunday.

“I have asked around to try and find out who they are, they are obviously grandchildren but of course their surname may not be Shepherd anymore if they have married.

“I would like them to contact me as I would like to have a photograph of Thomas Shepherd in uniform if they would let me have one to display in the phone box with the photos of other soldiers.

“We have never met any relatives of soldiers who fought in the First World War, I would really like to meet them and talk to them, and so would the Barningham History Club."

Mr Hay said he went to check on the trench on the morning of Sunday, August 17, after it had been raining the night before, and he was surprised to open the door to the flowers.

“I was taken back that they would leave flowers in the phone box, I would not have been surprised if they had put them on the memorial in the church yard, but if the contents of the phone box have had such an effect on them that they thought it would be the right place to leave a tribute I am very touched.

“It was not meant to be a memorial in that sense but if someone feels they want to take that a step further then I’m very proud.”

Thomas Shepherd is listed on the war memorial in Barningham village, however despite Mr Hay’s best efforts he has not been able to locate his descendants yet.

“I want to display a photograph of all of the Barningham soldiers from the First World War, not just those on the memorial.”

Mr Hay is making appeals wherever he can for families to get in touch, not just the family of Thomas Shepherd, but relatives of any soldiers from the First World War.

To contact Mr Hay, email