The soldier silhouette, part of Coldstream’s 14-18 Poppy Project displays around the town, stolen at the weekend has been returned in time for the town’s Remembrance service this Sunday.
Coldstream residents expressed anger and disappointment that the silhouette, representing a soldier who did not return from the Great War, was removed within hours of being placed on a bench in Home Park.
A spokesperson for the local branch of Honour Our Troops, responsible for the town’s magnificent poppy displays, said: “One of our Honour Our Troops volunteers was walking up through Home Park from work to her home and saw something glinting at the bench near the football fence. On investigation she found that the silhouette had been placed behind the bench.
“It was definitely not there when we looked on Sunday and Monday as we checked all the benches. It has no feet on it, but we can still make it work.
“So we would like to thank whoever listened to their conscience and returned the silhouette. It restores one’s faith in humanity.”
* Coldstream’s 2014-18 poppy project has captured the imagination of many and a count of this year’s display will determine whether the target of 111,111 poppies was reached.
The Honour Our Troops project, in the capable hands of Annmarie McCall, started in 2014, marking 100 years since the outbreak of war, and each year more poppies were to be added - symbolising the growing number of lives lost - and a visual reminder of the impact of World War 1.
It was hoped to have 111,111 poppies by 2018, signifying the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month when the war ended, and as the displays around the town start to go up, time will tell whether the target is reached by Armistice Day.
There are a number of new displays being worked on, and in the parish church 72 poppies will be placed on pews - each one representing a local man who was killed in war and whose name is on the town’s war memorial.
Over the years thousands of poppies have been knitted, crocheted and made out of recycled or recyclable material, with 120 people contributing to the displays organised into 19 teams. Last year there were around 30,000 poppies on display and this year’s official count will involve Coldstream Primary School pupils.
“The displays have sparked off a lot of conversations,” said Annmarie, who is now known to many as ‘the poppy lady’.
Honour Our Troops is holding a reception, attended by the Berwickshire Lord Lieutenant Jeanna Swan, in the town’s community centre on Saturday, November 10, to thank people who have helped with the project.
A map of all the different displays around the town is being drawn up and should be available from Streamers Sandwich Bar by the end of next week - November 2.
On Armistice Night thousands of candles in jam jars will line the road from Coldstream Bridge to the monument, from the health centre to Leet Bridge and from the north entrance of the town.
Funds raised will go to: Poppy Scotland; the Poppy Appeal; Honour Our Troops; RBLS Coldstream; Coldstream Community Trust.