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Cemetery poppy fields to mark 100th anniversary of the First World War
9:10am Tuesday 25th March 2014 in News
POPPY fields will flower at two of the borough’s cemeteries to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War, it has been confirmed.
It is hoped the vivid displays in St Helens and Newton-le-Willows will provide a lasting legacy for years to come.
St Helens Council and the Friends of St Helens Cemetery have united for the project.
The Friends have been helped by council grounds staff and have created the fields thanks to the Councillor Improvement Fund, which makes money available for projects suggested by residents.
A granite plaque will also be unveiled at a special event during the summer months at St Helens Cemetery, off Rainford Road, Windle.
The red poppy flower is a symbol of the country’s remembrance of the sacrifices made in past wars
Scarlet corn poppies grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe. In late 1914, the fields of Northern France and Flanders were torn open as the Great War raged and the poppy was one of the few plants to grow on the battlefields.
The flower’s symbolic significance is described in John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Fields.
As part of the commemorations, the Friends are also asking groups and schools to help them place posies of poppies on every grave or headstone with a First World War inscription at both St Helens and Newton cemeteries.
This will involve more than 400 graves.
A new remembrance meadow at Mesnes Park in Newton is also opening this year with noon on Saturday, July 5, set as an official unveiling date.
Councillor Seve Gomez-Aspron said: “The Friends have worked extremely hard to make this happen – and the poppy fields they have helped to create at both cemeteries will serve as a fitting and lasting memorial to the fallen.
“This project is a tremendous example of how money from the Councillor Improvement Fund can be used in a positive and appropriate manner that benefits the community.”
Throughout this year every Friends’ guided cemetery walk will have a World War One theme.
Places on the Remembrance Sunday walk are expected to go quickly and for the first time there will be guided tours at Newton Cemetery on Heritage Open Day weekend (13-14 September).
To book tour places and help with the placing of posies, contact The Friends of St Helens Cemetery by phone (0791 0131369) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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