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Do you own a poppy from the Tower of London art installation?

20th August 2018

On Sunday 15 September the Worcestershire World War One Hundred Team and Worcester Lord Lieutenant will host a special commemorative service in Gheluvelt Park. The Drumhead Service will be followed by an act of commemoration with poppies from the Tower of London and the Worcestershire World War One Hundred team are asking those who purchased poppies to bring them along.

Based on military tradition, a Drumhead service is a religious service conducted in the field during conflict and in peacetime, with neatly-piled drums draped with flags creating a makeshift altar.

Towards the end of the ceremony the public are encouraged to create a sombre spectacle with their own poppies, purchased by people across the county after the Tower of London art installation in 2014, and brought to Ghleuvelt Park for this day to remember members of their family who died in the First World War.

The major art installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London, marked one hundred years since the first full day of Britain's involvement in the First World War. Created by artists Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, 888,246 ceramic poppies were used in the installation. Each poppy represented a British military fatality during the war.

Adrian Gregson, Worcestershire World War One Hundred Project Manager said: “Like many people I was incredibly moved by the art installation Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London in 2014 and purchased my own poppy.

“I bought the poppy specifically to remember my great uncle Corporal Erlam Greaves who was killed on 9th April 1918 at Givenchy in France. Talking to my Grandma about him is what inspired me to work on my PhD and ultimately to write a book about his battalion, 7th King's Liverpool Regiment.

More generally, I wanted to have some permanent record of the Centenary of the Great War and having one bit of that immensely moving and impressive art installation at the Tower at once made me feel part of the wider commemoration as well as being able to be specific in my remembrance.”

Adrian went on to say: “The War, in my view, was a catalytic experience in technology, medicine, society, attitude, and geo-politics, events which still resonate when we discuss what is happening in the Middle East, the Balkans, and now our European partners in Brexit. While it is still just about tangible, since I and many others of my age or older had contact with serving veterans of the conflict, for anyone under 50 it is probably "only" an historical event, like so many others. However, I still believe that as an historical event it was momentous in the range of its impact in a way in which no other conflict has been.

“I hope all those who bought a poppy will bring it and the story of who they are remembering to what promises to be a very special, and moving, service in Gheluvelt Park on 15 September.”

The service is open to all to attend. Visitors are requested to be present by 12 noon and the service will start at 12.30pm on Saturday, September 15.

Find out more about the art installation as well as the subsequent touring exhibition.