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As part of our World War One Centenary Commemorations, an individual textile poppy has been created to represent each of our 77 fallen alumni. The 77 poppies have been created from a diverse range of materials using a variety of different methods – from knitting, to crocheting, to felting.

We are delighted that our poppy project has captured the hearts and imagination of so many people and we have well exceeded our target of 77 poppies, receiving nearly 200! The surplus of poppies will be used for other displays during our commemorative events.

Alumna, Pat Ransome, has helped to co-ordinate volunteers as we welcomed staff, students and alumni to the poppy-making group. The project holds significant importance to Pat, she said: “When singing in the College Choir in Chapel, I had ample time to sit and look at the memorial boards and even then, I wanted to know more! Now through the UCAA, I am finding out more and more – what a journey of discovery and learning it has been! One hundred years after the end of the Great War, we are acknowledging and remembering the sacrifice made by our 77 fallen.

Sandra Carr, staff member, said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to be part of a sewing group here at the university. I was involved with the Chapel Embroidery project (embroidery for altar cloth and other furnishings) which I thoroughly enjoyed, and wanted to continue with the sewing community. It’s important to remember the fallen who were members of the college. To make these poppies, in an array of styles, textures and features, serves to remind us that the 77 who lost their lives were individuals with their own uniqueness. To design and make poppies is one way of saying that we remember them.”

Sharon Forsdyke, alumna, said: “I feel privileged to be involved with the poppy project and have made poppies from raffia, felt, gauze and cotton. As a member of the College Choral Society, I attended many events in the Chapel, but never really considered the significance of the World War One plaque until Pat Ransome (Alumna 1972) brought it our attention at a Committee Meeting.”

Kath Roberts, staff member, said: “I enjoyed taking part in the Anniversary Quilt Project and the Chapel Textiles Project so was keen to make some poppies for this worthwhile next project. By taking part in the projects I have made new friends and met people from across the University and outside, and there has been a great sense of community by doing things together. I am a great believer in crafting, particularly as part of a group, improving well-being.”

When we were visited by Sandra and Alan Robinson, Sandra delivered a handmade poppy to represent fallen alumnus, Fred Bullough, who is named on the memorial plaque in the Chapel and is Alan’s great uncle. They brought in the poppy on the 100th anniversary of the death of Fred, who was a student at the then Chester College. Alumnus John Lord traced Fred’s family tree and made contact with the Robinsons, informing them of our plans to commemorate the 77 men listed on the memorial plaque in the chapel. They called in to see the plaque last year and hear more about the project. When Sandra learned of the plans to craft 77 poppies into a memorial wreath to be unveiled next year, she felt it would be a lasting tribute to Fred if she made a poppy to represent him.

An experienced cabinet maker from Liverpool, Rob Nicholas, has designed an oak display cabinet for the wreath of poppies to be displayed in as part of his HND in Furniture Design. This cabinet will serve as a permanent memorial to the 77 fallen on the Parkgate Road Campus, alongside the memorial plaque in the University Chapel. The cabinet will also feature each of the 77 fallen alumni’s name carved inside and has been designed to replicate a campaign chest.

Read more about the poppy project on the Alumni Blog.