19 April 2024

Poppies cascade from Pier Towers

By Rebecca Hannant

A cascade of knitted poppies has been hung from Withernsea’s Pier Towers as part of the town’s Remembrance commemorations.

The project has been organised by Withernsea’s Royal British Legion president Darren England and his wife Marie, who secured the materials such as the wool and the camouflage net with help from the RAOB.

Local crafters then set to work on producing thousands of traditional red knitted poppies alongside purple ones that remember animals fallen in conflict.

The poppies were secured to the netting with the help of the Withernsea scout group.

The cascade, which was seven months in the making in total, was finally hung up by members of Withernsea RNLI on Friday, October 27.

Organisers said they were upset that a mini-cascade – which had also been installed on the nearby model version of the Pier Towers – had been stolen by thieves, but they have since replaced it with a new display.

Darren said: “Over a year ago, I had a thought that a cascade of poppies would look great in Withernsea, but in which location? The lighthouse, maybe, or St Nicholas Church? These would be great places but at this time of year don’t get much footfall. So, I decided to ask for permission to hang it from the Pier Towers. The then-Withernsea Pier and Promenade Association readily agreed. I started a social media page up to ask local knitters and crocheters if they would be willing to help by producing poppies. This soon gained momentum and we had ladies from Withernsea, Hollym, Barton and even Malta wanting to make them. I spoke to the RAOB who donated some funds for the wool as we would need a vast amount.

“A camouflage net was donated and placed up about seven months ago to check the dimensions and it looked great without poppies so we couldn’t wait to see what it would look with them.”

Despite the project being given the go-ahead by members of the Withernsea Pier and Promenade Association, there was speculation over its future after the WPPA was wound up in May, but permission was later granted by East Riding Council after insurance was arranged.

Darren added: “I would like to thank all the ladies who spent hours knitting and crocheting poppies, Marie for spending hours tying them on the net, the RAOB (Buffs) for funding and Withernsea Town Council for its support and help.”

Sean Bell, helm at Withernsea RNLI, said: “The RNLI has a long history as a lifesaving organisation, but it is often overlooked that the RNLI played a vital role during the world wars rescuing seafarers and pilots from both sides.

“As an ex-serviceman myself, helping in any way I can to mark both Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, is a subject close to my heart. Russell Mathers contacted the station and asked if we had anyone able to spare some time on Friday morning.

“It is wonderful to see we had both our longest-serving crew member, launch authority John Hartland, and one of our newest, James Medcalf. All pulled together to assist Darren England, Russell and other like-minded members of our community to install a beautiful and poignant display of poppies from our unique Pier Towers. I especially loved the attention to detail with the scaled-down version for the model of the pier on the nearby promenade.”