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Poppy project captures hearts

By Mercury reporter

News (4552789)
News (4552789)

A poppy project to commemorate the end of the First World War has captured the hearts of a whole community.

Thousands of people have crafted a ceramic poppy over the last seven months in preparation for a spectacular display at Oakham Castle.

Organisers of the Rutland Poppy Project wanted to host a community project inspired by the Tower of London display in 2014.

They are thrilled with the public support since its launch in February and are looking forward to unveiling the final display next month.

One of the organisers, Vickie Goddard, said: "We have been absolutely overwhelmed at the way people have got behind the project. People have been so keen to roll their sleeves up to get involved.

"We wanted the project to be as inclusive as possible so we're really pleased that people from all different backgrounds took part, from two-year-olds to people in their 90s."

The team have hosted more than 80 poppy-making workshops across the county, visiting schools, care homes, youth groups and even firefighters. Two retired teachers were recruited for the primary school visits to give a presentation about the war and its effect on local communities.

The project was coordinated at Catmose College and the finishing touches are now being put in place for installing and unveiling the display.

Commemorative horseshoes will be made and presented to every parish in the county which has a war memorial and a booklet is being created to complement the project. It will feature stories of Rutlanders in the war and photographs of the poppy project. Proceeds will go to the Royal British Legion.

The poppy display will be unveiled on Sunday, October 21. The grounds of Oakham Castle will be open to the public from 2pm ahead of a private event in the castle for supporters and dignitaries at 3pm.

The poppies will remain in place until Sunday, November 18 and organisers are hoping to attract volunteers to keep an eye on it during that time.

They hope the public will respect the project but organiser Lizzie Newel is appealing for people will come forward to patrol the site "to deter any potential damage to the project".

Volunteers will be needed during the evenings from 6pm. Anyone available to help can email rutlandpoppyproject2018@gmail.com

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