The Somerset Poppies
Sunday 11th - Sunday 25th November 2018
The Bishops Palace
The Somerset Poppies, a remembrance event involving nearly 4000 Somerset children, takes place this November at The Bishop’s Palace, Wells.
Almost 8000 silk poppies will be displayed from 11th November onwards, each one representing a Somerset serviceman who lost his life during World War One. Every poppy will have been created by children from 19 schools in and around Wells, with every child in each school having taken part.
The poignant and moving display will be free to view, between 11th and 25th November and poppies are available for sale, to pre-order for only £5, at: www.somersetpoppies.co.uk
Dan Vidler, local teacher from Coxley School, who is organising the project, believes that children of all ages should have the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of remembrance through participation, reflection and research. “Wearing a poppy each November is important, but for many children, that’s where their involvement ends. We hope that with children of all ages taking part, they’ll be able to recognise the scale of loss for our county 100 years ago, learning more about remembrance through educational resources designed for each age group. As well as feeling a sense of pride in contributing to one of the largest commemoration events (involving children) in the country, we hope the learning and understanding that children develop will have a lasting impact.”
Alongside the educational and artistic aims of the project, the final outcome will be to raise money for the two charities: Wells branch of the Royal British Legion and SSAFA, the Armed Forces Charity, through the sale of poppies. Each poppy costs just £5 and all proceeds will go to the charities.
“I was inspired to create The Somerset Poppies after seeing the 19240 Shrouds of the Somme, by Rob Heard, in 2016. My class at Coxley School created some shrouded figures of their own, 301 in total, to represent the Somerset soldiers on the first day of the battle. Seeing the display in Exeter and talking to Rob, the artist, it really emphasised the opportunity to explore the topic on a large scale with children. Our project also takes direct inspiration from the Tower of London Poppies - Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red - back in 2014, and the hope is for children to build an awareness of work by contemporary artists, within this context.”
“The whole project would not have been possible without the financial support we have received, offered generously by Wells City Council, Wells branch of the Royal British Legion, David Wilson Homes and Wells Civic Society, as well as many local businesses, all of which are listed on our Facebook page. We are extremely grateful to every organisation that has sponsored The Somerset Poppies, as well as to The Bishop’s Palace for kindly hosting the event.”
While The Somerset Poppies will be free to view at The Bishop’s Palace, Wells, there is also an opportunity to view the display before it opens on 11th November, by buying tickets to a ‘Preview’ event, on the evening of 10th November, where the poppies will be displayed under floodlights with children from local choirs singing songs from the WW1 era. Tickets cost £15 and only 100 are available to buy from The Bishop’s Palace Shop or online at: https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/thebishopspalace
“We hope that as many people as possible will come to view the poppies, both Wells and Somerset residents and people from further afield. Visitors will join the children of Wells in developing a deeper appreciation of the losses for our county during World War One.”