A STUNNING tribute to those who lost their lives in the First World War has been unveiled for the first time at a church.
More than 17,000 handcrafted poppies were cascaded outside St Peter’s Church on Hayling Island, after an ‘emotional’ dedication service for 200 people took place inside yesterday morning.
The poppies are hanging from five camouflage nets which have been draped over scaffolding.
Churchwarden Coleen Jackson said: ‘We wanted to bring the community together for a special occasion – everyone on the island has been knitting.
‘The service was moving and the atmosphere was one of respect for all those who gave their lives for us.
‘There’s lots for people to come and see up until November 11 – the cascade, an exhibition about life on the island during the war and poppy tributes inside the church.’
Armed forces representatives, councillors and members of the public and community groups attended the service.
A banner made from 350 poppies which reads ‘For The Fallen’ holds the names of individuals killed in action.
Alyson Griffin, from the Northney Textile Crafts Group, embroidered many of the name labels. She came up with the idea for the cascade after seeing something similar at a church in Scotland.
She said: ‘It’s been emotional sewing all the labels because you have to read the names and the stories. I sewed one for the grandfather I never knew and my great uncle.
‘It’s been a huge amount of work but I’m glad I did it.’
Poppies came from as far as New Zealand.
Colin Cooke-Priest, 79, was a rear admiral in the Royal Navy. He attended and said: ‘Remembrance Day and the centenary of the First World War is very much a part of me.
‘With military experience I was able to help with the project. The cascade is fantastic and I made 20 poppies.
‘The service made the point what those who fought in the war gave up is as relevant today as ever.’
Alan Mak, MP for Havant, said: ‘This is an impressive tribute and a great credit to all those involved.’
View the cascade between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday.