By the Rev Jenny Gaffin, vicar of Hayling Island

The Rev Jenny Gaffin presents the cheque to Ray Harris from SAAFA, along with members of the St Peters congregation, from donations raised through the Hayling Poppy Cascade
The Rev Jenny Gaffin presents the cheque to Ray Harris from SAAFA, along with members of the St Peters congregation, from donations raised through the Hayling Poppy Cascade
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You might remember last autumn we unveiled a cascade of 18,000 poppies outside St Peter’s Church, to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.

It was incredibly popular, and I kept meeting people outside the church who had come to see the stunning display during the five weeks it was there. They thought it was a fitting memorial to those who had sacrificed their lives in that conflict – and in subsequent wars.

The poppies were created by members of the Northney Craft and Textiles Group, alongside many residents from Hayling Island and beyond. It was a truly collaborative effort and the display was a fitting backdrop for our Remembrance Sunday service in November.

Another amazing thing about the project was that visitors kept donating money towards charities associated with Remembrance Sunday.

We were delighted to be able to present cheques recently for just under £2,000 each to both the Royal British Legion and the armed forces charity SAAFA.

Both charities support those in the services, veterans and their families, so the funds will be put to good use.

The project shows the deep gratitude people feel towards those who fought to defend our freedom.

We also remember those who served and died because of a desire never to go through that kind of conflict again.  We pray for peace because we recall the horrors of past wars.

The project also showed the community spirit that is still very much alive on Hayling Island. We are good at pulling together in good times and bad, and our churches are often at the heart of that.

One event that will show our commitment to the island is a Beating the Bounds day on June 1. Beating the bounds is a church tradition that involves travelling around the parish boundary and praying for all its residents.

We’ll be sailing all the way around Hayling Island, starting at 9am at the lifeboat station. You’re welcome to join our fleet of boats. There will be safety boats on the route, but you’ll be responsible for your boat and crew at all times.

It should be a fantastic occasion.

Go to haylinganglicans.com.