The Poppy Project

How it all began...

"Each poppy really is ‘hand-made’. No two are exactly the same. 

Every poppy head is literally hand-painted with a paintbrush"

As a headteacher about to retire, I was looking for a project that would take all of the nice things from the job I was leaving - working with children, encouraging creativity, passing on skills - and getting rid of the things I was not so fond of, such as dealing with piles of often unnecessary paperwork and keeping up with the pressures of Ofsted!

In 2014, the school worked on a poppy project to mark 100 years since the start of the First World War. Each child made and painted a ceramic poppy, and these were ‘planted’ in the green area at the front of the school.  Families used their poppy to remember people who had been killed in any war, and dedications to those people were put on the school website.  Many were read out in the annual Remembrance Assembly.  Taking part this way made ‘Remembrance’ very poignant and relevant to the children.

Four years on, and a school at the other end of the country contacted me and asked for help to do a similar project in their school, and I started to think that something along those lines would be very relevant to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the signing of the Armistice and the end of the Great War.

Staff at the school where I was Headteacher often hid, wondering what was coming next when they heard the words, ‘I’ve got a really good idea’, but this time it was only my husband who groaned when the latest plan involved a space in his workshop and help to find a kiln. 

So Poppy Project Mark 2 was born!  I approached ‘The Church in the Park’, the Church of St Peter and St Paul, and asked if I could work with them and display the poppies in the grounds, and they were very helpful and supportive of the idea.  They were keen to mark the eleven Commonwealth graves in the cemetery and a ceramic poppy wreath has been made for each.

Making, firing, painting and constructing 2,000 poppies has been a mammoth task.  Each poppy really is ‘hand-made’ and no two are exactly the same. Every poppy head is literally hand-painted with a paintbrush. They will be going on display from the the middle of October and can be purchased through the church or on this website. Every stage of the project was photographed from the beginning, right up until the poppies were put on display at the Church. Click here to see how the project unfolded.