How the appeal started?
In March 2014, we planted about 250,000 poppy seeds at Manorfield School in Stoney Stanton, to mark the WWI Centenary Commemorations. On May 13th the whole plot was mown over by an over-zealous mower man, and it was devastating to see the plot destroyed. That afternoon, Andrea Carman and Claire Symons were talking about the loss of the plants, and together, they decided that they had to do something to create a poppy field. Andrea suggested ‘yarn-bombing’ the area, and Claire took the idea up and ran with it.
The word was spread throughout the school community, and many people offered to help out. Within days, the word was out, all over Stoney Stanton, with many more people offering to help out, and Manorfield Poppies had its own Facebook page. People that couldn’t knit or crochet were offering to make felt, foam and laminated paper poppies … the response was amazing.
Andrea and Claire measured the plot to work out how many knitted or crocheted poppies were needed, and it was estimated at 715. Nobody knew it would be as successful as it became. By the end of the second week, the poppy total had risen to over 1000. During the half term, Claire and Andrea were inundated with poppy deliveries. People that had gone to visit friends and families out of the area over the school holidays were even returning to Stoney Stanton with poppies from Cheshire, Lancashire, Norfolk and even as far away as Swansea.
A grandparent of one of the Manorfield pupils donated a whole load of poppy plants that she’d grown at home, and Claire donated some that she’d grown from seed at home too. Andrea and her husband went to the school and dug a cross out of the lawn, and on May 31st, some of the PTFA and governors, with their children came out and planted them all. A wooden cross was designed and built by Andrea’s sister, and that was erected at the school. The local Post Master painted a Poppy field watercolour and donated it to the school to be named by the pupils and to hang in Reception. Mr Miles, the school caretaker, made a giant poppy from wood to hang in the middle of the knitted and crocheted poppies. We were also very excited to have an all-weather banner donated by a parent with the poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ printed on it backed by a photo of a beautiful poppy field.
The 'Manorfield Poppy' appeal generated so much interest that it formed the basis of a focus day in school which involved the pupils learning more about World War 1 , writing their own war poetry, learning about the significance of the poppy and attending a service, accompanied by Mrs Morgan playing the bugle, in the 'Rememberance Garden' to commemorate those who had died through out the years of warfare. The work completed was displayed in the school and the World War 1 exhibition was opened up to the local community.
Manorfield School, the PTFA and Governors would like to say a massive thank you to all who have helped out with this project. It was amazing, heart-warming and uplifting experience to see the whole school and local community coming together to mark this important occasion in British history
The legacy of the success of the 'Manorfield Poppies' appeal still continues. The poppies were all taken down for the summer holidays but Andrea and Claire have been busy making them into bunting to be hung in school for Rememberance Day every year. They are now busy raising money to develop the 'Rememberance Garden' on the site of the original poppy plot.
The following links show how the Manorfield Poppy story was told in the media.
We'll meet again
All the children at Manorfield School singing Vera Lynn's - We'll meet again.