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Knitted poppies to adorn two Cambridgeshire war memorials



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Residents of Waterbeach and Landbeach spent the lockdowns knitting and crocheting 5,000 Remembrance poppies.

Angela Brown (second left) with some of the volunteers who have helped with the project. Picture: Keith Heppell
Angela Brown (second left) with some of the volunteers who have helped with the project. Picture: Keith Heppell

The Parish Church of St John the Evangelist, site of the Waterbeach memorial, will host the resulting poppy-festooned camouflage-netting panels this year, and next year the panels will travel to its sister church of All Saints, Landbeach.

The traditional panels to be installed on the church porch were made largely by older members of the two communities. Poppies also came from Waterbeach WI, Waterbeach Wives and Landbeach Knit and Natter circle.

Two triangular panels will also feature, with substantial contributions from Waterbeach Primary School, which created 80 poppies out of red rip-stop fabric, and from Girlguiding members, who fixed poppies onto a camo-net.

Brownie Eve Campbell, 9, at work on one of the panels. Picture: Keith Heppell
Brownie Eve Campbell, 9, at work on one of the panels. Picture: Keith Heppell

Angela Brown, a Waterbeach resident who coordinated the project with Landbeach resident and licensed lay minister Jane Oakes, said: “A lot of this has been generated by what happened in this area in the pandemic.

A project to commemorate war-memorials, in Waterbeach and surrounding villages is nearing completion and at the Church of St John the Evangelist, the Waterbeach part of the project was being finished off following the year-long Covid-delay. Picture: Keith Heppell
A project to commemorate war-memorials, in Waterbeach and surrounding villages is nearing completion and at the Church of St John the Evangelist, the Waterbeach part of the project was being finished off following the year-long Covid-delay. Picture: Keith Heppell

“In the churchyard is a war memorial – the same is true of Landbeach parish church – and because of Covid these memorials missed any centenary recognition or commemoration which people in normal circumstances would have given them.

“Churches very often carry a bit of the community memory and it seemed that it would be a pity if the diversions of the pandemic took us away from something which the community would be proud of and would wish to honour.”

Angela, who noted that the Royal British Legion celebrates its centenary this year, and Jane got in touch with older members of the community, who may have felt lonely or isolated, and suggested that they make poppies that could withstand the colder weather.

A project to commemorate war-memorials, in Waterbeach and surrounding villages is nearing completion and at the Church of St John the Evangelist, the Waterbeach part of the project was being finished off following the year-long Covid-delay. Picture: Keith Heppell
A project to commemorate war-memorials, in Waterbeach and surrounding villages is nearing completion and at the Church of St John the Evangelist, the Waterbeach part of the project was being finished off following the year-long Covid-delay. Picture: Keith Heppell

“All these wonderful people quietly got started,” said Angela. “Obviously they couldn’t go out and buy their resources so we were posting them through letterboxes.”

The pair then contacted various community groups, including the WI and Waterbeach Wives. The Portland stone, octagonal-based memorial at Waterbeach was erected, then dedicated on November 14, 1920, unveiled by C R W Adeane CB, Lord Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire, and consecrated by Bishop Price. Like the church, the monument is now a grade II-listed structure.

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