Handcrafted Poppies in City Centres Commemorate WWI Centenary

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Leominster poppies memorial
Leominster poppies memorial

Stunning displays of bright red flowers that are made of a combination of both real botanical arrangements and handmade poppies can be seen in High Streets and decorating monuments across the UK this month. Sevenoaks in Kent and Leominster in Herefordshire both have a ruby floral theme running through the town centre. Leominster has a whole covered walk dedicated to new artworks and textiles that symbolise thanks for the sacrifices so many made during and after the First World War.

Morecambe town council purchased 1000 giant poppies and “Such has been the response and generosity from local businesses and the public that Business Improvement District has purchased an additional 1,000 poppies to really paint the town red.”

During August 2018 and throughout this year there will be special events and concerts with an official countdown of 82 days until Armistice Day on the 11th November.

The Independent states that “On 11 November there will be a series of events to mark the centenary of the Armistice, including a commemorative service at St Symphorien Cemetery near Mons, Belgium, where the war began in 1914 and where the first and last casualties of the battle lie.”

Council leaders and local crafting groups have teamed up and shops such as Closs & Hamblin fabrics in Chichester have encouraged able knitters and those who can crochet to start weaving a wave of poppies.

Local florists have created bright but dignified bunting and pots and hanging baskets of intense crimson colour. These artistic arrays encourage visitors and residents of the area to take time to be thoughtful and also thankful for the contribution so many made in such a brutal war.

Everyone is invited to remember those who fought for freedom and those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. Crimson poppies were found growing across the fields of France and northern Europe after the war was over. They have come to symbolise remembrance for those who were injured or did not return from the trenches.

This solemn occasion is a chance to reflect on a time when men from local families were sent to fight in trenches with companions from their own and nearby parishes and villages. This practice often resulted in the heartbreaking consequence of losing many fathers, brothers and sons from one community when they were killed in battle together at the same time. Many brave soldiers from across the Commonwealth also gave their lives.

The Royal British Legion website is dedicated to “All who served, sacrificed and changed our world 1918 to 2018.” It has ideas and resources for getting involved in the community and ways to remember and thanks specific individuals who made a contribution during the great war. Suggestions range from purchasing life size ‘silent silhouettes’ to taking up a craft hobby popular in wartime or holding an event to raise funds and say thank you. All these activities can be shared on social media to raise awareness.

Eye-catching decorated towns and cities are blooming with poppies made out of paper, cloth, wool and ceramics this season. They are accompanied by a whole host of musical and artistic events this Autumn. It will give us an opportunity to divert our thoughts from daily life and the dramas of Brexit and take time to be thankful and educate our children about history.

There are are whole host of exhibitions and events on at the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth in London this year to mark 100 years since the Great War.

2018 marks 100 years since World War I and many people want to quietly and creatively remember the 1.1 million service men and women who gave their lives. A Festival of Remembrance will be aired on the BBC on the 10th November 2018. Many bells across Europe will ring out commemorating Armistice Day on the 11th November.

Imperial War Museum London https://www.iwm.org.uk/whats-on?filters%5Bwhere%5D%5BIWM+London%5D=on

Closs & Hamblin retail fabric and haberdashery website https://www.candh.co.uk/

UK Government Official website 21 August 2018 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/bells-to-ring-out-and-10000-to-march-past-the-cenotaph-as-the-nation-says-thank-you

Bulman M. “First World War centenary: UK to stage events throughout 2018 to mark 100 years since end of conflict” 1 January 2018 https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/first-world-war-centenary-100-years-1918-2018-events-mark-ww1-a8135856.html

The Royal British Legion website 21 August 2018 https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/ww1-centenary/thank-you/

Morecambe Town Council website 21 August 2018  http://www.morecambe.gov.uk/morecambe-is-blooming-with-giant-poppies/