Sea of Poppies is unveiled in parish church

Andrew Key, chairman of the Sea of Poppies project, with his knitting 'hero' Lily Fisher, 83, who produced 1,000 poppies for the display. EMN-181030-100624001
Andrew Key, chairman of the Sea of Poppies project, with his knitting 'hero' Lily Fisher, 83, who produced 1,000 poppies for the display. EMN-181030-100624001

Over 1,250 people have so far visited Heckington church to view the amazing display of 18,000 handmade poppies to honour the centenary of the end of the First World War and the 31 villagers who lost their lives in the conflict.

Heckington, like many communities, lost many of its young men in the fighting, listed on the village war memorial and remembered on November 11.

Poppy displays at Heckington Church. EMN-181029-091712001

Poppy displays at Heckington Church. EMN-181029-091712001

Heckington 100 was established in November 2017 by the Parochial Church Council of St Andrew’s to co-ordinate the village’s special commemorations this year.

The ‘Sea of Poppies’ installation was unveiled at a preview event on Friday evening by chairman of the project, Andrew Key, and features thousands of poppies made by knitting, crochet, felt and other crafts by local organisations and individuals as well as those from around the globe including New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere.

There are special displays and information about aspects such as women, musicians and priests at war, and animals that died too.

Mr Key read out a letter of thanks from Prime Minister Theresa May, saying: “I wish you every success with your commemoration.”

Poppy displays at Heckington Church. David Nisbet. EMN-181029-091742001

Poppy displays at Heckington Church. David Nisbet. EMN-181029-091742001

The installation will be open daily to public view between 10am and 4pm (Sundays 2-4pm) until Remembrance Sunday.

A concert by the Swineshead Silver Band helped launch the exhibition on Saturday evening with guest singer Elaine Huckle.

Mr Key said: “I’m thrilled to bits with how it has all come together - better than expected and mainly because of the community support.

“At the heart of everything there has been a hard-working core group that has radiated out and enthused everyone. The church provides such a fitting backdrop.”

Poppy displays at Heckington Church. Chairman of Heckington 100 Andrew Key with main organiser Lesley Sewell. EMN-181029-091630001

Poppy displays at Heckington Church. Chairman of Heckington 100 Andrew Key with main organiser Lesley Sewell. EMN-181029-091630001

Among those who have supported the project, he singled out Lily Fisher, an 83-year-old resident of Greenacres care home, who has knitted over 1,000 poppies.

She said: “I used to be knitting until midnight and in bed.”

Local shops and businesses are taking part by decorating their windows.

British Legion community fundraiser for Lincolnshire Nick Fairfax was one of the invited guests. He said the poppy contributions were ‘truly staggering’, and said: “I was overcome by the enthusiasm and energy. Any donations from the Sea of Poppies will go to the Poppy Appeal to help support our service families both serving and retired.”

Lincolnshire British Legion community fundraiser Nick Fairfax with the poppy display by the Heckington Girl Guiding group. EMN-181030-100645001

Lincolnshire British Legion community fundraiser Nick Fairfax with the poppy display by the Heckington Girl Guiding group. EMN-181030-100645001

Poppy displays at Heckington Church. Marilyn Scholefield. EMN-181029-091648001

Poppy displays at Heckington Church. Marilyn Scholefield. EMN-181029-091648001

Poppy displays at Heckington Church. David and Hazel Chandley. EMN-181029-091728001

Poppy displays at Heckington Church. David and Hazel Chandley. EMN-181029-091728001