A POPPY field and memorial stone that mark the town’s 100th anniversary commemorations of the First World War will be unveiled by war veteran Andy Reid.
The special ceremony will take place at St Helens Cemetery on Sunday, August 3, the eve of a century since Britain declaring war on Germany in 1914.
The Friends of St Helens Cemetery will be inviting the former corporal – a modern day casualty of war who was left a triple amputee after being caught in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in 2009 - to draw the curtain on the memorial stone.
The stone stands in a section of the cemetery where a wild flower and poppy field was created earlier this year by the Friends on the site of several Commonwealth war graves.
Throughout the cemetery the Friends group, with the help of local sea, air and army cadets, will place a cross of poppies on every WW1 grave or headstone with a WW1 dedication.
Year Four pupils from Queens Park Primary School have already started the mission – placing crosses on 50 graves during the last week.
Marlene Downey from the Friends group said: “There are approximately 400 headstones at St Helens Cemetery and 60 at Newton Cemetery and we hope that the poppies which will be visible throughout the old sections of the cemetery will remind visitors of the sacrifice made by so many local men and the impact this war had on the families and the people of St Helens.
“The 400 headstones are a small representation of the thousands of men from the town who died or were permanently injured in this war and who mainly lie buried in foreign soil.”
The event will also feature an exhibition in the chapel of work by researchers involved in the St Helens PALS Project and the St Helens Rolls of Honour Project. A display of World War 1 uniforms, memorabilia and photographs will be another highlight.
The Mayor and Mayoress of St Helens, Councillor Geoff and Carol Pearl, will be among the guests along with Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside, Dame Lorna Muirhead, representatives from the council and the military.
Organisers are sending out an open invitation to ceremony and organisers are particularly keen to hear from veterans, groups and other organisations who want to attend.
The exhibitions will be open from 1.30pm, while the ceremony starts at 2.15pm.
For more contact The Friends of St Helens Cemetery by email: firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone: 07910 131369.