More than 1,000 poppies set to go on display at historic former social club
TRUSTEES at aÂ hall steeped inÂ history are calling on the public's help with a floralÂ Armistice DayÂ display.
Figures behind the Westbourne Club have shared theirÂ vision of adorning the structureÂ with a cascade of more than 1,000 bright red knitted poppies for a centenary celebration next month.Â
DubbedÂ Keeping The Home Fires Burning, the fixture on November 10 is not only geared at marking 100 years since the end of the First World War, but highlighting the hall's role in the conflict.Â
The venue, built in 1899, was used as a training gymnasium for local men who fought '“Â as well as a place toÂ recuperate after the dust settled.Â
'˜In the area between Portsmouth and Chichester, the population has grown so much over the years that many people don'tÂ know about the history on their own doorstep,' said 54-year-old volunteer Amanda Stringer.
'˜But with the First World War centenary coming up, we wanted to bring the whole community together and educate people who don't knowÂ about theÂ history of this club in a creative way.
'˜I'm asking any one, of any age, to knit or create a poppy of any size to feature in this display.'Â
Inspired by theÂ Wave sculpture visited by thousands of people at Fort Nelson earlier this year, the poppies created for this project are set toÂ be fastened to a cargo net andÂ united in a cascading fixture outside the hall.Â
The day on which they are unveiled will also feature live music and a visit fromÂ Nigel Peake '“ father of the astronaut Tim Peake, from ChichesterÂ '“Â withÂ revellers invited to tieÂ a heartfelt message to a loved one with an armed forces connection around the hall's enclosing fence.Â
Mrs Stringer said: '˜I'm glad to say the poppy appeal is taking off on Facebook '“Â we've had people pledge to get involved from as far as France and the Isle of Wight.Â
'˜But we're not giving up, because we want to make this as amazing as we possibly can.'Â
Having changed use after the First World War,Â Westbourne Club was knownÂ as Westbourne Social Club until the end of last year.
But bound by a deed, the building hasÂ always had a generation-spanning board of trustees '“Â who recently reacquired it and have a dream of turning it into a charity to re-cement its significance as a local landmark.
'˜This building has always been part of our lives,' said 74-year-old former parish councillor David Todd, the youngest trustee onÂ the hall's board.
'˜My father used to come here and so didÂ I when IÂ was of a suitable age.Â
'˜But it is time to give this hall the recognition it deserves and get younger people interested in what it represents.Â
'˜There is no reason it cannot become the centre of the communityÂ again.'Â
Keeping The Home Fires BurningÂ will run from 10am until 3pm on November 10 and pÂ oppies should be made by November 6.