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Stunning poppy display unveiled at council offices to mark Armistice centenary

PUBLISHED: 11:54 10 October 2018 | UPDATED: 12:38 10 October 2018

Gordon Palastanga, Standard Bearer and Chairman of the Royal British Legion Bury St Edmunds Branch   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Gordon Palastanga, Standard Bearer and Chairman of the Royal British Legion Bury St Edmunds Branch Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

A stunning display of more than 4,000 knitted and crocheted poppies has been unveiled in Bury St Edmunds to mark the centenary of the Armistice.

The huge sheet of poppies, which were made over the past nine months, fall three storeys in the reception at West Suffolk House - home to west Suffolk councils in Western Way.

Staff, families and friends responded to a call from Sally Kelly, from customer services at West Suffolk House, to make the project happen.

Mrs Kelly said: “My inspiration came from the moving display at Walsham-le-Willows church last November.

“I have always been aware of how my family was affected by World War One and felt that our building could be a good backdrop for a display.

Sally Kelly, Sarah Turner and Pip Davies in front of the display   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSally Kelly, Sarah Turner and Pip Davies in front of the display Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“I showed photos to my colleagues in customer services and asked them if they could knit.

“The idea snowballed and it very quickly became clear that many of our colleagues, family and friends wanted to make their own personal contribution to a special commemoration.”

Commemoration boards will also be displayed at shared council offices in Haverhill, Mildenhall, and Newmarket.

A limited number of the special poppies have also been held back for people to wear in support of the Poppy Appeal in return for a donation.

Over 4000 knitted poppies have gone on display in WesWest Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNOver 4000 knitted poppies have gone on display in WesWest Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

They are available in reception at West Suffolk House.

Mrs Kelly added: “Seven of my great uncles and both my grand-fathers fought in World War One, and three of them died.

“My great uncle William Charles Sadler served with the 5th Battalion Suffolk Regiment.

“He was just 22 when he was killed in action and has no known grave. He is just a name on a memorial in Jerusalem and in his local church.

Gordon Palastanga, Standard Bearer and Chairman of the Royal British Legion Bury St Edmunds Branch   Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNGordon Palastanga, Standard Bearer and Chairman of the Royal British Legion Bury St Edmunds Branch Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“War memorials show that my family is far from unusual, and I think the success of this project is proof of the power of commemoration.”

Pip Davies, Bury St Edmunds Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal organiser, said: “I thank everyone who has contributed to this thoughtful and impressive tribute.

“I am deeply appreciative of the support it lends to the Poppy Appeal in this centenary year, and I hope that everyone who sees it finds it as meaningful and moving as I have.”

The poppy display will hang at West Suffolk House until Friday, November 16.

Over 4,000 knitted poppies have gone on display in West Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNOver 4,000 knitted poppies have gone on display in West Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Margaret Marks, mayor of St Edmundsbury, said: “This project has tapped into the deep local memory of when Bury St Edmunds was a garrison town.

“A hundred years ago, young men from as far as Cambridge and Newmarket walked in to the town to join up, leaving few lives untouched.

“I am honoured to have been a small part of the effort to commemorate their service and sacrifice.”

Options for what will then happen to the display following November 16 are currently being explored.

Over 4000 knitted poppies have gone on display in WesWest Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNOver 4000 knitted poppies have gone on display in WesWest Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Anyone interested in using it, or wishing to bring a group to view it, should contact customer.services@westsuffolk.gov.uk or 01284 758884.

Over 4000 knitted poppies have gone on display in WesWest Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNOver 4000 knitted poppies have gone on display in WesWest Suffolk House in Bury St Edmunds Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

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