On Thursday last week (25th October), I went along to the Royal British Legion to meet the gang from the Streetlight Centre who came to pick up the oversized poppies to help put them up around town. You can see them everywhere! On lamp posts, the Kings Head balcony and even all over the ugly scaffolding (not so ugly now)!
The big launch then was on Saturday morning. I went along with my family to Allenbourne School where I was greeted by a number of military vehicles – some very large (one did 6 miles to the gallon – ouch), and some very small ‘Willeys Jeep’ style (much conversation ensued about the origin of the vehicles and how they are maintained etc.
I jumped into one and the plan was to do a circuit around town, ending up on the Square. It was bitterly cold but sunny and dry, so being in a open top jeep was pretty good fun and I took the opportunity to wave at pedestrians (I think some of the younger kids thought maybe I was Father Christmas)! As we were at the Square too early – we went around town again. It was fine since there wasn’t much in the way of left hand turns (I wasn’t looking forward to these as there was no door and not much in the way of anything to stop me falling out on a fast bend)!
I traveled with the vehicle’s owner ‘Dave’, my husband was in the back with my Scout Matthew. You see what I mean about falling out – no seat belts in these oldies – the black strip you can see is the sleeve of my robes!
We bumped up on the Square so the crowd was able to inspect the vehicles – they were mainly American but there was a German one in the mix too (vehicles, not the crowd)!
The Town Crier went on to do a Cry, then a bugler, followed by the ceremonial purchasing of the first Poppy. I chose one that had a key ring attachment and hung it on my chain – where it shall stay for the Poppy season. Now I’ve heard that there are some special paper poppies out there that have gold writing on the green leaf – look out for them as they’re limited edition and very elusive – think Willy Wonka and the gold wrapper!
A great day – thanks to all at the RBL for organising, including the Poppy fund raising committee. The next big day is of course 11th November, when there will be the 2pm service in the Minster, followed at 6pm by the Beacons Lighting event. See posters on facebook. But you need to be on the Square at 6pm ready to walk behind the Dorset Youth Marching band up to the Cemetery for what is going to be a very moving and fitting tribute for this special anniversary year.