AN EYECATCHING tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice has been created in Whitchurch to mark last week’s Remembrance weekend.

Whitchurch WI members have been toiling for months to knit and crochet about 1,000 poppy symbols which adorned a public bench in memory of all who died serving their country.

The bench is next to a bus stop on Whitchurch Road and not only provides a colourful place for bus passengers to wait, but also a place for reflection on those who people might know who have served or still serve in the military or otherwise support operations at home and abroad.The WI poppy creation follows on from a similarproject last year, but has gone one better with an affectionate reproduction of a British soldier sitting on the bench to keep visitors company.

Marion Cauldwell came up with the idea of the tribute: “We feel very strongly that the Remembrance events should be taken seriously and marked with a symbol to help remind people not to forget all those who have died and also to think about all those people who serve our country in the military.

“We took about 20 hours to assemble it, but several months to make them all. People made them at home and used their creativity and imagination. The poppies had to be attached to a net. Then, there’s the new touch — a British ‘Tommy’ sitting at one end which gives a kind of light touch to it. I’d like to think he is there representing anyone in the armed services and gives a focus to the whole thing and is also lends a sense of fun which might appeal to children, for instance.”

She said Remembrance means a lot to her because her son-in-law is in the Army abnd has served on operations in conflicts like Afghanistan and Iraq: “If this helps people think about someone special that they know who serves their country, or one of their relatives who died in the world wars, then I’d be very honoured.”

Margaret Hamer, Whitchurch WI president, said: “I’m very proud of what we’ve all achieved. It’s a very fitting tribute.