During the Lockdowns, the Waterbeach and Landbeach communities and churches have quietly knitted and crocheted 5,000 Remembrance Poppies for commemorative installations.
Their village war-memorials were due centenaries – and these are now being linked to this year’s Royal British Legion’s 2021 centenary. The Parish Church of St John the Evangelist, site of the Waterbeach memorial, will host the resulting poppy-festooned camouflage-netting panels this year; next year the panels travel to its sister church of All Saints’, Landbeach.
The installations will feature two kinds of panels. The rectangular, traditional ones owe their input to many older and sometimes isolated members of our communities. Abundant poppies came, too, from Waterbeach WI, Waterbeach Wives, and Landbeach Knit and Natter circle. Many were knitting in their own memories and reflections: WI member Sue knitting one poppy for each name on the Waterbeach memorial, and added a note about an uncle.
Two modern-day, triangular panels will also feature, with substantial contributions from Waterbeach Primary School who exercised their own courage to create 80 poppies out of red rip-stop fabric; and from GirlGuiding who exercised problem-solving skills to fix poppies onto camo-net in a weather-proof way!
Some of these groups and individuals have strong connections with our parish churches or other places of worship and denominations in and around our villages. Contributors have come from diverse walks of life. A busy bride-to-be; a consultant vet; food-bank activists; academics – all have found time to input and stitch-on.
Ann Job, sister of a Waterbeach Royal British Legion member, sent over 500 poppies from Doncaster. RBL supporters from near Ullapool, in Scotland, sent an anonymous batch. Margaretha, near Lands End, Cornwall, crocheted poppies with leaves. The camo-netting itself was a kind donation in faith from a business in Worcestershire.
Behind all this positivity lie some deep thoughts. As hands have worked, minds have reflected on how, a hundred years ago, the Spanish Flu pandemic wreaked heartbreak and losses, as the First World War did. Thinking of the names on one war memorial, a Waterbeach Parish Councillor commented ‘We would have known them back then: the village was so small’. Waterbeach was only a quarter of the size it is now.
On the day of the unveiling of the memorial, the churchyard was too small to hold all the mourners; they had to stand outside, lining Station Road in both directions. The current Beach News covers this story.
We hold in thought and prayer Fen Edge families which still feel the impact of recent world conflicts. The Remembrance Service on November 14th at each church is for Now – as well as History.
Angela Brown, and Jane Oakes, LLM, for the Waterbeach and Landbeach Parish Churches. (email@example.com 07884465648)
Donations made here will be forwarded to Landbeach and Waterbeach branch of the Royal British Legion.
Pictures from St John's, Waterbeach
Pictures from All Saints', Landbeach