Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The village of poppies

The village of poppies

CUXHAM has been transformed into “the village of poppies” for remembrance.

Twenty-five large, plastic versions of the flower have been fixed to telegraph poles to honour the village’s eight fallen servicemen from the First and Second World Wars.

They have been sponsored by residents whose names appear on the back of the poppies with the name of a soldier on the front.

Dougie Barr, 70, who has lived in Cuxham for 20 years and is the village’s Poppy Appeal collector, said the scheme started two years ago and had grown in popularity.

He said: “We started off with only five poppies, then we got to 10 last year and now we have got up to 25 as more and more people have become excited about it.

“It’s a visual memory of the eight fallen guys whose names are on the village memorial in the church.

“This is a busy road so we’re reminding drivers coming through not just of our heroes but of all the heroes who have died.

“The Royal British Legion is not just dealing with the First and Second World Wars but servicemen and women who served in Afghanistan and Iraq and suffered in the same way as their colleagues from previous wars. This is advertising it rather dramatically.”

Mr Barr, a retired group captain who commanded a squadron of Andovers at RAF Benson and was adjutant of the Queen’s Flight, said he hoped the display would continue in future years.

“The village loves it,” he said. “We’re now known as ‘the village of poppies’, which is lovely. There’s a real community feeling of pride.”

Mr Barr said he hoped to raise £500 for the appeal this year.

“The minimum price for one of these poppies is £10 so we have got £250 straight away,” he said. “When you consider there are only 50 houses in the village, that is £10 each, which shows how much the village cares.

“My son served in Afghanistan and when your child is put in harm’s way it makes you realise how the parents of servicemen and women all over the world must feel at all times.”

The poppies will be on display until after Remembrance Sunday.

The Remembrance service will take place at 9.45am.

Eight children will each be given a cross bearing the name of one of the soldiers which they will planted in a garden of remembrance in the grounds of the Church of the Holy Rood.

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