Recycled poppies share a message of war and peace at local churches

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Discarded pop bottles headed for the recycling bin have been given a poignant new lease of life by members of West Kirby Women’s Institute.

More than 1,000 plastic bottles have been transformed into poppies for an eyecatching cascade at St Bridget’s Church and a field of remembrance at Caldy Church.

The bottles were collected, cut, sprayed and shaped by a team of WI members, who then affixed them to stems and to netting. There are more than 800 Poppy heads on the cascade and over 200 poppies outside Caldy Church as a colourful memorial tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom.

The display at Caldy Church

The tops and bottoms of plastic pop bottles were saved by members of WI, church congregation and FB followers. A number of West Kirby WI’s All Things Crafty subgroup then cut and shaped them before spraying them. The poppies were then curled using a heat source.

Catherine Carroll, subgroup leader came up with the idea at a committee meeting last year when president Pippa Lea was buying a wreath to place on the Hoylake and West Kirby War Memorial on Grange Hill.

“I suggested surely we could create one next year and so the idea grew,” said Catherine. “Plans were for a cascade and a wreath, then the Rev Alex Williams asked if we could include Caldy church too.

“It was a team effort, involving several evenings meeting up to complete various stages and other members completing them at home. Finally, all volunteers returned their bags of completed poppies and my car was filled to the brim!”

The cascade of poppies being created by members of West Kirby WI

The St Bridget’s cascade includes red, purple, and white poppies. The red poppy is the most famous symbol, associated with the British Legion and used to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives in World War One and conflicts that followed. It is inspired by the fields of poppies that grew where many of the battles were fought.

The purple poppy is often worn to remember animal victims of war, such as horses, dogs and pigeons who were often drafted into the war effort. Those who wear the purple poppy feel their service should be seen as equal to that of humans.

The white poppy is handed out by a charity called Peace Pledge Union, which promotes peace. They say that the white poppy commemorates people who died in conflict and focuses on achieving peace and challenging the way we look at war.

Photo credits: Top and middle photos: David Edwards. Bottom photo – West Kirby WI