This Friday, a community poppy sculpture will be unveiled at the International Bomber Command Centre (IBCC) in Lincoln.
The sculpture, a joint project between the IBCC and the Little Pottery Studio in Lincoln, has received support from a wide range of Lincolnshire businesses and community groups.
This support has enabled groups of children, students, RAF families, local residents and veterans to be involved in hand crafting ceramic poppies.
The 1,600 poppies have been placed on a 3m x 2.5m steel column that will be sited in front of the Chadwick Centre at the IBCC. The project has involved nearly 1,000 people and has taken 2,059 hours to produce.
The sculpture will sit in a newly commissioned flowerbed holding over 6,000 bulbs including 1,800 Liberation Tulips. These tulips were commissioned by the Government of the Netherlands in 2015 to mark the 70th anniversary of Operation Manna.
This operation saved the lives of nearly a million Dutch civilians who were starving after one of the worst winters in history and the annexation of the West of the Netherlands as a reprisal for Dutch support of Operation Market Garden. Over 20,000 people had already perished during the ‘Hongerwinter’.
Next year sees the 75th anniversary of both Operation Manna and VE Day. This new installation will be a focus for both celebrations and deliver the IBCC’s themes of Recognition, Remembrance and Reconciliation.
Also on the morning of Friday 8 November, some 600 children from 11 local primary schools will be joining the IBCC team for the annual Children’s Service of Remembrance.
The schools are designing their own wreaths as part of their Remembrance learning and are also taking part in a poetry competition with the winners reading their poems as part of the Service
The Children will then place poppies in the Memorial Walls, learning about those they are marking with the help of specially created biographies incorporating pictures of the fallen. These biographies have taken a team of 40 volunteers 3 years to create.
This year the children will also be given white poppies to symbolise peace and remember the civilian casualties of the conflicts. This links strongly with the IBCC’s policy of relating an Orchestra of Voices for those who served, supported and suffered during WW2.
This year the schools’ travel is being supported through the Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire Schools programme enabling the schools to cover all transport costs. The AHL team will be attending the service.