Entrance to the display
A splendid array of poppies is now on display in the craft and garden centre at the 2017 Devon County Show.
The memorial has been constructed to represent each of the region’s servicemen and women who gave their lives during the First World War.
There was an initial aim to get 11,000 poppies which would have marked everyone from Devon who died in the war.
Eventually more than 33,000 poppies were received – which is enough to commemorate each life lost from Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Dorset put together.
The brains behind the project, Deborah Custance-Baker
Deborah Custance-Baker, who has overseen the project, says she was completely overwhelmed by the support:
“I took over the running of the craft and garden centre last year. For this year’s show I wanted to do something big in order to mark the World War One centenary.”
“So I gathered some ideas from the Chelsea Flower Show. I saw what they’d done with the poppies to commemorate local lives lost in the war, and I wanted to do the same for Devon.”
“I’m completely overwhelmed by the support, we was expecting to be knitting masses of them ourselves, but as it turned out that wasn’t necessary.”
“I heard several months ago that many of the local wool shops were selling out of material, that’s what gave me a feeling of the scale.”
“We’ve received flowers from freemasons, schools, the Salvation Army, Bradninch Women’s Institute, Plymouth RBL and many other local organisations.”
“The youngest person to make a poppy was aged three, and the eldest was aged 94.”
“We initially set out some patterns for everyone to use, but they’ve all came back with their own individual designs which is great.”
“We’ve even had some produced in Barbados, and some in New Zealand.”
“I’m extremely grateful for all those who have taken part in this fantastic memorial and that there is now a poppy to represent each of those brave people and their individual stories.”
Written by Rob Jennings
Photographs by Richard Lappas & Nicky Woods