A year-long campaign to gather thousands of handmade poppies to create a fitting community tribute has been officially launched.
In April, The Courier reported that a committee had been formed and plans were in place to launch the Warwick Poppies 2018 project.
The project aims to collect as many poppies as possible in the space of a year to make a tribute that will be on display inside St Mary’s Church to commemorate 100 years since the end of the First World War.
On Tuesday (September 5) the project was officially launched at St Mary’s Church in Warwick, where The Courier joined more than 100 people at the event.
Helen Fitzpatrick, one of the committee members, said: “We were just blown away. Everyone was so positive and so incredibly supportive. Since the launch I have had no end of emails saying thank you and offering poppies.
“Warwickshire County Council has also pledged to create 1,000 poppies for us. I would like to thank everyone for their support and help and I would like to thank Harry Guest who designed the way the church looked with the lighting.
“So far we have collected around 2,000 poppies and one lady, Joyce Chambers, who was 96-years-old and lived in Warwick, knitted and delivered 50 fabulous poppies.
“We invited her to come to the launch but she very sadly died last Friday (September 1). Not only has her family lost a very special lady but Warwick Poppies has lost an inspirational supporter. She was represented at the launch by her two daughters.
“We have had poppies sent from far and wide and people who have said they have some at home will now be adding to them.
“The Mayor’s consort Christine Cross is knitting poppies furiously and we even had a message on our Facebook page from a lady in America asking when the project deadline was.”
Timothy Cox, Lord Lieutenant of Warwickshire, who officially launched the project, said: “I am very pleased with the initiative to involve the community in remembering those who died in the First World War.
“The Royal Warwickshire Regiment lost over 11,000 men. The aim is to ask the community within the whole of Warwickshire to create poppies.
“It would be great to have at least 11,000 poppies to represent the amount of people the Royal Warwickshire Regiment lost but I am hopeful that we will get many more. I want to encourage as many people in the county to make poppies.”
There are “poppy drop stations” in Warwick, Kenilworth, Leamington and Coventry.
A full list of stations and poppy patterns are available on the project website: www.warwickpoppies.org.uk.