Plans to cascade a mile-long walkway with thousands of poppies to recreate the route Witney soldiers took when leaving to fight in the First World War have received positive support from the community.
The Witney Town Council-led poppy mile will form part of the commemorations planned to mark next year’s Armistice Day (November 11), the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.
Chairman of the First World War working party and former mayor Cllr Chris Holliday said: “We will be unveiling a new memorial on The Leys to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War.
“November 11, 2018 will be a great opportunity for the people of Witney to remember the ordinary people, leading ordinary lives, who marched this route as they went to war, to serve king and country, many of whom did not return.”
The ‘mile’ is actually around a quarter of a mile and will start at the Corn Exchange, where the soldiers would have gathered, and continue across the Market Square, up Church Green and through the churchyard at St Mary’s and on to The Leys which was the route to the railway station.
The council say many people are already making poppies and spreading the word through family and friends.
A Witney embroidery group will be stitching poppies and a Slimming World group in the area is being encouraged to knit in their spare time instead of eating.
The gauntlet has been thrown down to councillors as well, challenging them to learn to knit or crochet a poppy of their own.
West Witney WI and the Forget-Me Knot knitting group at Richmond Villages are on the case and keen to do the teaching.
Cllr Holliday said: “The Witney community have always been very supportive of our remembrance services. Next year will be particularly special and the folk of Witney like a challenge. We are expecting poppies in their thousands.”
The council has issued crochet and knitting patterns online at tinyurl.com/yd7g25v5 or drop into the Town Hall or Corn Exchange for a pattern.