Susie Bale (left), Joy Wagstaff and Sandie Smith.

Local residents Sandie Smith, Joy Wagstaff and Susie Bale have covered Quidhampton village, near Salisbury, in poppies ahead of the 100th anniversary in remembrance of the servicemen who fought in WW1.

“It’s to say thank you to, and remember, those who lost their lives, and it’s also important also to remind younger people to not forget,” they said.

“It’s no hardship to us: the rain since we put up the poppies is nothing compared to the muddy trenches the soldiers experienced.

“Our generation is the last one to have contact with people who experienced World War One: it’s a sobering thought.”

In total, 4,000 recycled plastic bottles have been collected and cut by villagers, most of them by Sandie, Joy and Susie, to create 8,000 poppies placed round the village.

The bottles have come from the community, gyms in the area, as well as donations from nearby Wilton Garden Centre.

The efforts have been well received and the whole community is thrilled.

It has even reduced speeding through the village because people want to take a closer look at the decorations.

“We got the idea from what Salisbury Guildhall did last year, decorated by the children, and we thought ‘why shouldn’t we do it?’” Sandie said.

They also got inspiration from villager Bea Tilbrook, who has produced biographies of the local servicemen who lost their lives in the First World War.

After the project started in January this year, meetings in the Village Hall attracted the village community, since when they worked together to turn the idea into reality.

In addition to the poppies, wreaths are put on the doors of the houses of the 11 soldiers who lost their lives.

Rachel and Martin Russell, who run The White Horse pub in the village are delighted with the efforts to make the 100-year anniversary very significant.

“It’s a special, tight community where all come together and help each other out,” Rachel said.

“I think it’s great, because some who lost their lives in the war were from Quidhampton, and they should be remembered,” Martin said.

On Remembrance Day, November 11, a service at the Village Hall starts at 10.15am, with a 2-minutes silence at 11am.

Four families will represent their relatives who lost their lives in the war, another four have sent messages to be read, and 11 young people will represent the men from the village who never came back.

The 100 knitted poppies displayed at the service will be given to children afterwards.

The hall is open from 2pm to 4pm, where tea and coffee is on offer and a slideshow, made by Bea Tilbrook and her husband, shows photos from the WW1 era.




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