SSFR poppies at London Southend
Airport Poppy Garden
SSFR ceramic poppies were the heart of the London Southend Airport Poppy Garden this year and shone again as part of a multi faceted exhibition that took place around the 100th anniversary of the Armistice of the Great War in 1918. Thanks to the work of our wonderful local artists Ali Ward, Esme Taylor, John Adams, Mary Lister and the LSA and Blade Education teams we have been able to put together an amazing installation and event to celebrate the centenary.
The LSA Poppy Garden was built using 2000 SSFR ceramic poppies that were made by the pupils of the 25 schools that took part in this project from across the Southend and Rochford area. These were mounted and set into the ground in the shape of a 4 petalled Common Poppy with a magnificent centre piece in the form of a Cenotaph with images and text taken from local people involved in the Great War by Esme Taylor and featuring 3 poignant sculptures made by artist John Adams, from clocks depicting significant times of the beginning, Armistice and official end of the war.
Following a welcome from the CEO of London Southend Airport, Glyn Jones, the Rev Fr. David Wylie, of St Margaret's Leigh-on-Sea held a service of remembrance, with bugler Barry Nunn sounding the Last Post and the gathering of people from around Southend and Rochford observed a 1 minute silence in honour of those who gave their lives for our freedom.
After the service everyone was invited inside to see the brilliant work of artist Ali Ward who, along with the children of Kingsdown School, parents, staff and community members made 100 woven cloth poppies that came together to form the Kingsdown Poppy Tapestry inside the LSA terminal building. With the Kingsdown Poppy Tapestry running the length of the terminal, the middle of the wall was filled with the photographs and stories of community members from the past who served their country in the many conflicts that have been fought since the beginning of the 20th century. The Memory Wall was gathered and collated via social media by the LSA team and there were some great stories of people who lived and died in Southend over the last 100 years.
Artist Mary Lister provided the centrepiece to the Memory Wall in the form of a tribute to 2nd Lt. John Edward Royston Young, Royal Flying Corps, who was stationed at the then Rochford Aerodrome during the Great War and flew missions to intercept German Zeppelins that were bombing towns up and down the East coast and London. Sadly J.E.R Young was killed by enemy fire in 1917 but his memory lives on. The LSA Poppy Garden, Kingsdown Poppy Tapestry and the LSA Memory Wall all came together thanks to the hard work and dedication of many different people and we would like to thank everyone who made a poppy or produced art or helped organise this wonderful event.
Finish off the event were John Adams' wonderful photographs of children from Leigh-on-Sea portraying children from the Great War. The whole event was wonderful and our thanks go to all those who made it possible.