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Thursday, October 25, 2018

Volunteers produce a wall of remembrance poppies

* Volunteers at the RAFA Club fix the poppies in place.
A massive community effort in Llangollen has seen over 3,000 poppies made by hand to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.  

The sea of red flowers – the traditional symbol of remembrance – lovingly created by a small army of volunteers will go on display at the town’s new Centenary Square from this Sunday where they will form the backdrop of a special event to mark the local launch of the 2018 Poppy Appeal.

The production of the poppies began over a year ago and has been overseen by former Llangollen town mayor Sheena Grindley.
She said: “We put out the word out about what we intended to do and we immediately started to get people volunteering to help make them.

“The initial target figure was 2,000 poppies but we eventually got over 3,000.
“They’ve been knitted, crocheted from water resistant acrylic wool and also made from recycled plastic and then painted red.

“More than 100 people were involved in making them. I can’t remember a community event which has involved so many groups and individuals, who came not just from Llangollen but from surrounding areas too.
“I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the response.”

Amongst the groups who joined the poppy production line were children from the town’s two primary schools, Ysgol Bryn Collen and Ysgol Y Gwernant.
“The children alone made over 320 poppies, all from the bottoms of plastic bottles which they then painted red and finished off with a black button in the middle. Each one will bear the first name and initial of the child who made it,” said Sheena.

“Their poppies will be planted in the soil along the back of Centenary Square while all the others have been fixed to many metres of green plastic netting, kindly donated by Matt Jones of Knights Construction, which will be positioned along the back wall close to our two war memorials commemorating the fallen of the First and Second World Wars.
“More volunteers have spent the past week fixing the poppies to the sheeting at Llangollen RAFA Club.

“We’re going to leave all the poppies on display until the New Year when people will be welcome to take them to keep as something to remember.”
On Sunday the poppies will take pride of place at the launch of the town’s annual Poppy Appeal at Centenary Square at 11am.

This will see a group of special guests in the shape of 40 riders from the biker section of the Royal British Legion (RBL) who will bring with them their own bugler to sound the traditional remembrance calls and a clergyman to take a short service.
On parade will be members of local RBL branch along with representatives of the Royal Naval Association and Royal Air Force Association.

A contingent from Llangollen Town Council will be led by the Deputy Mayor, Cllr Issy Murray Richards.

Sheena added: “At the end of the ceremony people are invited back to the RAFA Club – appropriate as this is also the centenary of the formation of the RAF - for tea or coffee and to view photographic and art exhibitions on the theme of remembrance.”

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