Harpenden sweet shop showcases intricate diorama as tribute to local legend
PUBLISHED: 16:00 25 July 2018
Sons of a local legend who died in a tragic accident have completed their father’s intricate homemade diorama and put it on display in a Harpenden tobacconist.
Former owner of Thorns, Colin Moxley, 67, had just started a miniature World War One trenches scene when he was ploughed down and killed walking on the pavement outside Sainsburys.
The car was driven by an 83-year-old woman who mistook the accelerator for the break.
His sons, Glenn and Mark Moxley, have finished the diorama project both in tribute to their father and to commemorate the centenary of World War One.
The model is made out of tiny parts painstakingly painted and glued together over about a month and can be seen in the window of Thorns until December.
It depicts soldiers on both sides with tiny lights for fires and a moving sniper, plus a trench and tanks.
Mark, 46, said: “My dad was very much into the First World War. He used to collect artefacts and make models and read a lot around it. He was very touched by what went on, especially in the trenches, and by the sort of thing the men and the kids went through in them, so it is a tribute to my dad.
“He had made the figures, put them all together, and painted all the tiny parts. You don’t realise how much work goes into putting them together.”
Mark’s 8-year-old and 10-year-old sons, and Colin’s grandchildren, also helped with the project.
Mark added: “It was very difficult for me to build because every bit I pulled out, there would be plastic with his fingerprints on it or his writing on it and he was present in the whole project.
“Doing it was very cathartic for me as well. It brought me closer to dad because he had done a few of the pieces and I was copying his work so it’s almost like he was teaching me how to do it.”
Glenn, who now runs Thorns, said he has had to clean fingerprints off the shop front window every morning since the diorama went on display.
Colin was a very generous man who loved Harpenden, Mark said.
The shop is open from Monday to Saturday, 9.30am to 5.30pm. Although the diorama can be seen at any time, the fire lights are turned off at night for safety reasons.