School's plans for poignant First World War Memorial in Hereford

Joanie Roberts, Marketing Executive HBID - 17th October 2017

THE image of ceramic poppies filling the moat of the Tower of London was one of the most poignant to commemorate those who died during the First World War... And now Hereford is set to pay its own tribute to the county's fallen soldiers with a unique art installation led by a team from the Bishop of Hereford's Bluecoat School.

Students, staff and members of Hereford Round Table – who are funding the project – will make around 1,500 poppies which each display the names of two soldiers from the county that died in the First World War.

These poppies will then be mounted on pieces of fabric, which will be hung in the shop windows of independent businesses and shops in Widemarsh Street. Tom Richards, a teacher in the school’s technology department, said: “It's inspired by the project at the Tower of London. Originally, we thought all the students would make their own poppy and it would go on display in the school – but it has evolved from there.

"The feedback was 'wouldn't it be better if everyone could see it' and we thought that was a good idea.”

Each pupil will make a poppy and write the names of two fallen soldiers, along with their own name. Staff, members of the governing body, and members of the Round Table will also do the same. John Bohan, head of technology, said: "There were 2,836 people who died in total. That's only those who died on the battlefield and doesn't include those who were injured or died later of their injuries or who were not identified. "We will have about 1,300 poppies in total and when you put all those together you get about 100 square metres. It's about two tennis courts full of poppies.”

Hereford BID assisted with the co-ordination of the Independent Traders on Widemarsh Street, who will give over a window for the installation for two weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday.

"It will hopefully create this huge swathe of colour and remembrance,” Mr Bohan said. He said the project will bring home the reality of how many lives were lost locally during the war, with the list of names including, sadly, a number of schoolchildren. The history department has also been asked to write an expression of remembrance on one poppy.

Year-11 pupil and head girl Tharindi Attalapitiya said: "I think as young people we should commemorate this big event as a lot of people died – especially young people." Luke Conod, of Hereford Round Table, added: "We are just incredibly excited and privileged to be involved."We are really proud to be involved with something that commemorates the young people that gave their lives for our freedom."