A stunning display of almost 3,000 poppies has been created in Ramsbotham.

An impressive collection of handmade poppies sits in the cemetery of the former Stubbins Congregational (United Reformed) Church and is expected to raise money for a veterans’ charity.

Lavinia Todd tends the cemetery near her home.

The Bolton News: poppy carpet Poppy carpet (Image: Public)

Lavinia, a retired head of education at Lancashire Museum Service, got the idea for the poppy garden after seeing a flower show in Chelsea.

Having lived in the area for over 20 years, she has raised thousands for various charitable causes.

Lavinia set out to raise money for Haslingden-based charity Veterans In Communities (VIC), which helps ex-servicemen and Blue Lanterns return, belong and thrive in their communities after their service.

Her art group and organization Ladies that lunch knit and crochet poppies with Crafty Chatters in VIC, Weir Knit and Natter among others.

The flowers were attached to wooden rails to form a maze of paths leading to the churchyard where a beautiful poppy arch was created.

A knitted poppy throw will also feature on the bench, along with a poppy pillow, a large poppy cross and poppy tea lights in a poppy seed jar.

Entry to the exhibition is free on Sunday 6 November and there will be a special children’s trail and Q&A on Monday 14 November from 1pm.

Rossendale Mayor Cllr Ann Cheetham will lay a knitted wreath at the grave of RAF pilot Bernard Holsall on Sunday. Died in battle on July 17, 1941 at the age of 24.

The memory of other soldiers is preserved on the tombstones, and three veterans are buried in the churchyard.

Captain Richard Whittaker Porritt, of Stubbins Porritt fame, who was a Lancashire Rifleman who died during the Second World War during the retreat of the British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk.

Driver Harry Lord of the Royal Army Corps died aged 18 on 28th August 1917.

Royal Engineer Lieutenant Philip Edmondson Halstead died aged 23 on 27 November 1944 following an accident.

Knitted poppy wreaths will be placed on their graves.

Lavinia said: “I am delighted to support a local charity that works hard in my area.

“I’m very grateful to everyone who pitched in and helped.

“We have a guess how many poppies make up the dress to win a bottle of champagne and everyone is asked to wear red if they can on the day.

“In addition to the treats, we will be selling handmade poppy cards as well as knitted poppies.”

Bolton News: Lavinia ToddLavinia Todd (Image: Public)

To help raise funds, friends and relatives will be treated to mulled wine and hot Vimto for £2, as well as kvass and cake for £5, with proceeds benefiting VIC.


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