People of all ages from across the community are coming together to commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of those involved in the First World War.
The ‘Walk of Poppies’ on the main route from Barnes Park to St Luke’s Terrace in Pallion more than a mile and a half away, will be decorated with more than 3000 poppies some of which were made by children from the local Pallion Action Group activities club.
Along the way there’ll also be floral hanging baskets and knitted Poppies created by older members of the community as well as Poppy and remembrance themed artwork.
Locally based artist Thomas Conlon has painted Poppies and WWI Remembrance themed images on recycled ‘for sale’ signs dotted along the route, while Wayne Noble has created a ‘waterfall’ of Poppies and art work in the gardens of Parker Trust on Kayll Road where the activities club is based.
The ‘Walk of Poppies’ which was funded by Sunderland City Council’s West Area Committee. will be officially opened by the Mayor of Sunderland, Councillor Lynda Scanlan on Friday 26 October at Pallion Action Group on East Moor Road after a lone bugler plays the Last Post at twelve noon.
He will be flanked by standard bearers, Veterans groups and servicemen including those from The Queen’s Own Yeomanry who are bringing a military vehicle to the occasion.
The Mayor will be also joined by children from the activities club and older members of the community including 102 year old Sunderland war veteran Mr Ernie Jones, Veterans Groups from across the city and local ward councillors from Pallion and Barnes.
Ernie Jones,102, said: “I am proud and honoured to be invited along to this event.”
During the official launch of the Walk of Poppies on Friday from 11am there will also be war-time music, a recital of the iconic wartime poem ’In Flanders Field’ by young local volunteers while children and young people dressed in specially Poppy decorated aprons will serve their older guests with tea and cakes.
Manager of Parker Trust and ward councillor for St.Anne’s, Cllr Karen Wood said: “The idea for the ‘Walk of Poppies’ all came from our local children, who were inspired to create this community tribute after talking to residents of care homes and veterans and hearing about the sacrifices made during war and military service.
“While they would usually use their spare time at the activities club planning and making decorations for their annual Halloween and Christmas parties, they decided instead to devote all their time and effort to this project and its success is all down to their hard work and determination.
“What has made it all the more special is the fact older members of the community have also become involved, and people of all ages from across the generations are sharing their skills, talents and experiences to create the ‘The Walk of Poppies’ which will be here until Armistice Day.”
The children have made their Poppies from recyclable material collected during litter picks in the summer holidays such as plastic bottles, cups and drinks cartons which were painted and melted down to create the Poppies.
Local volunteers, businesses and schools have also been involved with the Pallion Traders Group decorating St Luke’s Terrace, and children from Richard Avenue Primary School and Diamond Hall also making poppies to be displayed.
One of the children involved Leon aged nine, said: “When we visited local care homes it was amazing listening to older people. We all learned about how families suffered a hundred years ago during the First World War, and we wanted to do something to help the community remember the sacrifices people made and show how proud and grateful we are for all they done for us.”
Luke also aged 9, added: “We thought that instead of making decorations for our parties it was more important to make Poppies for this display, and we hope everybody likes them.”
Local mother and resident Ratna Kumari who was one of the local volunteers helping stitch on Poppies to the aprons said: “I wanted to get involved as it makes me feel good, I got to meet new people and have made friends during this time.”