The Royal Engineers Museum in Gillingham is set to host a colourful community tribute of respect and remembrance with the opening of the 5,000 Poppies exhibition on Tuesday 31st October. The display which features knitted, crocheted and felt poppies crafted by local people, has captured the imagination of the local community to such an extent that, in all, over 20,000 flowers made by more than 1,000 contributors will be on show.
5,000 Poppies began in 2013 as a small personal tribute by two Australian women, Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight, to honour their fathers who both fought in World War II and has become an international phenomenon, remembering those who have served in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations, their families and their communities.
The exhibition has been co-ordinated by Medway Fun Palaces and Nucleus Arts and has attracted participants from across the community. Genevieve Tullberg, gallery manager at Nucleus Arts, said “We have been delighted by the response from so many individuals and groups – regulars at the Cannon Pub, including some serving Royal Engineers, have knitted thousands of poppies, as have customers of Pat’s Drapers in Chatham and users of Medway Libraries while many, many individuals have also contributed.
“Whilst most knitters are local we’ve also received contributions from as far away as Dorset and Scotland from people who heard of the project by word of mouth. When we launched the project we thought we’d struggle to reach the target of 5,000 poppies but we’ve ended up with more than four times that number – they really will make a striking display!” she added.
The poppies will hang from the grand staircase in the museum foyer, adorn the main entrance gates and carpet the Ravelin display outside the main doors. The vast majority of the hand-crafted flowers are the distinctive red colour of the poppies that grew in Flanders’ fields in the First World War but the display also includes a number of white poppies symbolising peace and lilac coloured flowers remembering animals that have been killed in conflicts.
The exhibition will be opened officially by George Jessel DL, High Sheriff of Kent at 2.00pm on 31st October with all those that have contributed invited to the Museum for the afternoon.
The exhibition is free of charge as it does not require entry to the Museum. It runs until 7 January 2018 and can been seen during the Royal Engineers Museum’s usual opening times of 10 – 5 on Tuesdays to Sundays.
The Museum tells the story of the Royal Engineers and how they have helped the British Army live, move and fight for over 300 years. It is Kent’s largest military museum with highlights including 25 Victoria Crosses, Wellington’s map of Waterloo, Zulu War weapons, amazing bridge-laying tanks, a Harrier Jump Jet, a large section of the Berlin Wall and an enormous V2 Rocket. With interactive exhibits, indoor and outdoor play areas, café and gift shop, there’s plenty for all the family! Admission prices are £8.40 for adults, £5.70 for children and senior citizens and £22.50 for a family ticket – full details can be found at www.re-museum.co.uk.
Pictured: Medway Ladies’ Rugby Club
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