A First World War commemorative community mural was unveiled in the Vancouver Quarter yesterday (Tuesday, July 22) with shoppers, families and workers in the town being encouraged to stick thousands of poppies onto it.
West Norfolk mayor Barry Ayres placed the first poppy on the 10m long mural in front of invited guests, media and members of the King’s Lynn branch of the Royal British Legion at 3.30pm. He was followed by mayoress Christine, KLFM presenter Simon Rowe and two-year-old Gaywood resident Elodie Blackmore in placing poppies on the scene.
The mural is housed in the former Granite Outdoors shop, opposite Wilkinson and Argos and next to Costa Coffee, in New Conduit Street. Members of the Royal British Legion’s King’s Lynn branch will voluntarily man the store between 9.30am and 4pm every day leading up to the anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.
The Vancouver Quarter worked in collaboration with both the town’s branch of the Royal British Legion and the College of West Anglia to create the mural which depicts a First World War battlefield at dusk.
Abbie Panks, Vancouver Quarter Centre Manager, said: “We were really keen to do something to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War because it is so important the memory of those who fought and died for our freedom continues to live on and is passed on from generation to generations.
“We came up with the mural idea and it grew from there. We pitched it to members of the King’s Lynn branch of the Royal British Legion who were extremely supportive of what we wanted to do and then we started talking to the College of West Anglia who we can’t thank enough for their hard work”
She added: “There are thousands of poppies available to stick on the mural and it would be wonderful if we are able to completely cover it before August 4. I would urge anyone, particularly families, who are in King’s Lynn over the next couple of weeks to have a look at the mural, make a donation to the Royal British Legion and stick a poppy.”
College of West Anglia photography student Lewis Bond designed the mural, under the guidance of photography course director Emily Paxton. The 21 year old, who lives in Downham Market, said he was delighted to see his work on display and thrilled by the comments he received from members of the Royal British Legion. “Everyone at the unveiling told me how brilliant it looked and how much they think the public will enjoy the interactive side of the piece,” he said. “Both the mayor and mayoress said the mural gets the message across as to what the poppies and the anniversary are all about.”
Asked if he was looking forward to seeing his work covered in poppies, he replied. “Of course – that’s what it’s made for. It brings me great joy to think that people will be placing poppies on my work to pay their respects. “
He added: “When I was researching the First World War for this piece, it really hit home what happened and how many people were so brave to stand up and fight. It’s so important for projects like this to happen because it is our responsibility to educate the next generation of those we have lost and to make sure that every single life taken will never be forgotten.”
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