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Cumbrian congregations prepare to mark Remembrance Day

Church congregations across the Church of England in Cumbria are preparing to mark Remembrance Day and the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.

Communities have erected special floral tributes using thousands of poppies knitted by volunteers and raised money for ‘There But Not There Tommy’ silhouettes to be put up in towns and villages. Bell ringers throughout the county are also preparing to ring out church bells in unison on Sunday 11 November as part of a national event.

At Keswick St John’s, more than 12,500 poppies have been knitted and tied to cargo netting which covers a specially-erected scaffold to create a cascade effect from the church.

The Rev’d Charles Hope, Vicar of Keswick St John, and who served as a military chaplain in Iraq in 2004, says he’s been amazed at the level of response to the poppies.

“We’ve had hundreds of people visiting the display,” he said. “When we posted on Facebook we had 5,000 hits within the first day.

“The cascade looks like a river of blood but it flows from a church building that speaks of hope and life even in the face of death and destruction.”

The group began their marathon knit in February with the aim of creating 5,000 poppies. Support has been so great – including poppies sent from overseas – that the final number is more than double the original target. The scaffolding and netting cascade was erected free of charge by local company, Keswick Scaffolding.

Val Montgomery, one of those who helped organise the knit, said: “The great thing was the fact that we have been able to involve elderly people who are unable to get out of their home.

“It’s been a real community project, involving so many different people: St Herbert’s School pupils, Explorer Scouts and members of churches throughout the town. We’ve even had people sending in knitted poppies from abroad.”

Eve Massey, who also helped organise the cascade, added: “We’re astounded at the number of people who have been to see the poppies. Every day, no matter what the weather, the visitors have continued to turn up.”

Poppies cascade from Christ Church, Silloth.Elsewhere another poppy cascade has been created outside Silloth while silhouettes of World War One soldiers have been placed in Carlisle Cathedral, schools, shops and churches across the county, including Aspatria and in and around Kirkby Lonsdale.

In Carlisle, on Saturday at 4.30pm, the Mayor and Dean will re-enact the proclamation of the end of World War One prior to a Festival of Remembrance at the Sands Centre at 7pm.

Meanwhile the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev’d James Newcome, will once again officiate at the Royal British Legion’s Service of Remembrance at the Albert Hall in London on Saturday.

Bishop James, who is the National Chaplain of the RBL, will travel to London later this week in preparation for rehearsals with, among others Sir Tom Jones and Huw Edwards. The event will be televised on BBC One on Saturday at 8.30pm.

He said: “I have strong family connections with the military and served in the Territorial Army, so it is always a privilege to be part of this service. I find it particularly moving as the poppies fall during the time of silence.

“I’m sure there will be added poignancy this year as we mark a hundred years since hostilities ended in the First World War.

“It is right that as a nation we continue to remember all those who gave up their lives in war and conflict, in the defence of our freedom and liberty. My prayer is that through such brave actions we will see a more peaceful world.”

For a detailed list of services and events for Remembrance Sunday across the Diocese of Carlisle please click here.


Photo caption 1: The Keswick Poppy Cascade (from left to right) the Rev’d Charles Hope, Vicar of Keswick St John, Eve Massey, Marjorie Youdale, June Warnes, Margaret Purkiss, Cynthia Scott, Janice Moffet and Val Montgomery.

Photo caption 2: Poppies cascade from Christ Church, Silloth.

For further information please contact the Ven Richard Pratt, Deputy Diocesan Communications Officer, on 07788 728508 or at

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