Residents took to social media to express their joy over handmade poppies planted on gravestones at a Haywards Heath cemetery.
The poppies, which were planted by a group of cadets at Western Road Cemetery ahead of this year’s poppy appeal launch, were provided by Sylvia Harris, who expertly organised the creation of a river of 10,000 handmade poppies on Muster Green.
The cadets joined Charles Solomon, president of the Royal British Legion (RBL), priest Charles Sargent and Daniel Kington, to plant the poppies on Saturday, October 20, in commemoration of the sacrifice made by all the armed forces.
Speaking on Facebook, Lucy Pond, from Haywards Heath, said: “I noticed that someone has placed the knitted and felted poppies on each grave of those killed during the war, including a baby in the children’s section who succumbed to his injuries sustained after a bomb fell on his house in 1944. What a kind and thoughtful gesture.”
Another resident also said: “Local schools were also involved. I know that the children at Warden Park Primary Academy where I work made loads. Putting them in the cemetery on graves is such a lovely thing to do.”
Reverend Charles Sargent, chaplain to the Haywards Heath RBL and chaplain to 172 (Haywards Heath) Squadron Air Training Corps, told the Middy fifteen cadets volunteered their Saturday afternoon to do the kind gesture. “We didn’t say to them that they had to do it,” he said.
It is an excellent history lesson for the cadets to realise just how many people from their home town have died in conflicts.Reverend Charles Sargent, chaplain to the Haywards Heath RBL and chaplain to 172 (Haywards Heath) Squadron Air Training Corps
“They got to meet some of the RBL people – it was a great mix of people.”
He added: “It is an excellent history lesson for the cadets to realise just how many people from their home town have died in conflicts.”
Cadet Oliver Trehearne, 19, who lives in Lindfield, said: “We were asked by the RBL to help them with the project. It was a really nice thing to do, especially as it is the 100-year anniversary this year.”
“We always do things with the RBL to help them with their poppy appeal.”
Mrs Harris, who donated the poppies, said it was ‘wonderful’ to see the community react to the poppies. She said: “I didn’t expect the amount of people we have had at Muster Green, looking at the river of poppies – it has been amazing, and to now see people reacting to these poppies on the graves – it is wonderful.”
The poppy appeal in Haywards Heath launched on Saturday, by town mayor James Knight.
A stall was set up in The Orchards, providing information on events surrounding the centenary commemoration.