Coldstream’s community effort to honour those who died in war

Poppies provide a poignant touch to the view of the River Tweed and Coldstream Bridge at Henderson Park.
Poppies provide a poignant touch to the view of the River Tweed and Coldstream Bridge at Henderson Park.

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.

A dove - the symbole of peace - takes centre stage amongst the poppies outside Gowanlea sheltered housing complex at Coldstream.

A dove - the symbole of peace - takes centre stage amongst the poppies outside Gowanlea sheltered housing complex at Coldstream.

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’.

Staff's hand-made poppies displayed in the grounds of Coldstream Health Centre.

Staff's hand-made poppies displayed in the grounds of Coldstream Health Centre.

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.