Poppies for those who never returned home

NAWN 1810234AM1 Thorner Church poppies. Founder of the Thorner Craft Group Carolyn Wildgoose with group members, RBL standard bearer John Wilson and David Fryer chairman of the Thorner branch of the Royal British Legion outside St Peters church. (1810234AM1)
NAWN 1810234AM1 Thorner Church poppies. Founder of the Thorner Craft Group Carolyn Wildgoose with group members, RBL standard bearer John Wilson and David Fryer chairman of the Thorner branch of the Royal British Legion outside St Peters church. (1810234AM1)

Handmade poppies are being placed around Thorner as the village pays tribute to residents who never returned from World War One.

A group of volunteers have been creating the flowers by knitting and using recycled materials to commemorate the centenary of the end of the Great War.

Carolyn Wildgoose, who formed Thorner Craft Group in January this year as well as teaching and learning a variety of new crafts, said the group’s poppy drive had brought people together.

She said: “I’ve made some wonderful new friends: this isn’t just my story - it’s a story of how a group of people came together, made friends and tried to make a difference.

“As well as the people who meet every Tuesday, we’ve had others in the local community who have helped us by making and sending in the poppies for the display at the village church.

“We’ve also had people from further afield (Wales for example) who have helped us make poppies.”

Carolyn added: “Local businesses have helped with printing and local pubs, restaurants and shops have helped by selling our poppies and the memorial tags.

“Once the display is up, we are having a Guess the Number of Poppies competition - all to help raise funds for the Royal British Legion.”

The inspiration for supporting the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal was Carolyn’s Great Great Uncle Robert Ernest Brewer.

Born in Greenwich in 1894, Bob moved to Canada as a child and was just 19 years old when war broke out.

He had tried to enlist eight times, each time being rejected because of his poor eyesight.

But Bob was found fit in April 1916 and enlisted in the 113rd Battalion, the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force.

Carolyn said from journals, they knew that he arrived in ‘the field’ on May 14 1917. From there he went to Vimy Ridge and then Bethnall Woods.

Bob was killed in action on May 23 1917, aged just 22 and was originally buried behind a house in an area which appeared to become the Angres British Cememtery.

“Almost every family will have had or known of someone like Uncle Bob,” added Carolyn.

“I can only tell his story but hopefully this year at least, many more will be similarly remembered and honoured for their part in ensuring we can enjoy the freedom of our todays.”