THE JOURNEY OF ONE POPPY…
…AND WHAT IT MEANS TO SO MANY PEOPLE.
Originally Cllr Lynn Harter purchased three poppies from the “Blood swept lands and seas of red” London display. It was thought at the time that the youth council could make a permanent display of the poppies at their planter at the war memorial; however it became obvious they were too fragile to be displayed outside without expensive protection.
The youth council decided to allow Cllr Harter to “buy” one back, to display one permanently in the market hall window (with permission from Garstang Town Trust) as a memorial from the young to the fallen heroes, and the third was put up for auction, the proceeds of which were to go to Garstang Royal British Legion – women’s section.
The highest bid came from Jessica Clifford in America – £511. She wrote:
“First of all I would like to thank you and the Garstang Town Council as well as the youth council for organizing the Tower of London Poppy auction. Needless to say, I was overjoyed to learn I had won.
As I previously stated in our correspondence, the poppy was a Christmas gift to my husband Michael, who is an avid reader, collector and historian of the World War I and World War II. By the time we had learned of the Blood Swept Lands display in 2014, it was already too late to purchase one of these incredible pieces of art.
I can only say that Michael was overwhelmed with surprise and emotion. It will probably be the only time in his life that he has been rendered speechless (job well done!!!).
The Poppy has taken pride of place in our home and is a reminder of the sacrifice of all of our ancestors, including Joseph Patrick Hughes of Kilbirnie Scotland. Joseph was killed in action on September 15, 1918 in Flanders, Belgium. He was a gunner in the Territorial Force Battalion, Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery Regiment. His remains were never recovered. Joseph was Michael’s great uncle.
We are also proud that the poppy auction proceeds will assist other families who know all too well that sacrifice comes at a price.
I think we will miss our new found friends in Garstang and don’t be surprised if you hear from us occasionally. I enjoy checking your website now for news and updates on what’s going on across the pond! I have attached a photo of us holding the poppy as well as one of Joseph Hughes.
Thank you again Lynn, and may the new year bring peace and happiness to all.
Michael & Jessica Clifford”
Obviously the recipients of the cheque (of which all of the proceeds will go to those who need it) GBL women’s section were delighted.
Treasurer Judith Lee said:
“I can’t believe it; this is amazing news. Absolutely thrilled. Many, many, thanks. I can’t wait to tell the members.
We can’t thank you and the Youth Council enough. The donation and publicity are marvellous”.
She also sent through some background information of RBLWS:
The Royal British Legion Women’s Section is a membership organisation which provides care and support to the Serving and ex-Service community.
Formed over 90 years ago in 1921 to safeguard the interests of wives, widows and children of men who served in World War 1, we continue today to support those in need through educational sponsorship, financial grants and annuities. Our support services are available to the entire Armed Forces community; from service personnel and veterans to military spouses and children.
We are also one of the largest female membership organisations in existence, with around 30,000 members and 750 branches across the British Isles and overseas. Members play a key role by fundraising throughout the year within their local branches and counties to finance the bulk of the welfare schemes.
We provide care and financial support to all those within the Armed Forces community; from servicemen and veterans to military spouses and children. Our flagship schemes include educational bursaries, family welfare breaks and financial grants to those in need.
If anyone is interested in helping please ring Judith Lee on 01253 932271
The attached photo: The youth councillors and representatives of the GRBLWS – youth mayor Myles Sutcliffe presenting the cheque to Chairman Mrs Cross (seated) and President Mrs Hough