November 11th 2018 marked the Centenary of the end of World War 1. To mark this occasion and ensure it was remembered with sincerity, a number of projects were planned in Haslemere during 2018.
A central part of this project was to replace a 100 year old rotten flagpole on top of St Christopher’s Church with a brand new one, which is an exact replica of the old one (35 foot tall and 14 inches square at the base)! At the top of the flagpole is a newly restored and gilded arts and crafts cross and from the base of the flagpole 12,000 artificial poppies cascaded down the tower. We were pleased to be involved in a small way by donating money to purchase 500 poppies.
The Dedication Service took place at St Christopher’s Church on 22 April 2018, where, in the presence of the Lord Lieutenant of Surrey and the President of the Surrey RBL, plus the good people of Haslemere, the Archdeacon of Surrey was elevated aloft in a cherry picker to bless the new flagpole.
In addition, as the below photo shows, real poppies were planted by volunteers on St Christopher’s Green to compliment the artificial poppies cascading down the church tower. The organisers had intended to plant 10,000, but due to bad growing conditions, germination was poor and they only managed to bring on approximately 6,500 plants. However, when they are out, they will still deliver a splash of colour!
A WW1 Exhibition was held at Haslemere Museum in June 2018 to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War - 'The War to End all Wars'. A wide range of artefacts, both allied (Britain, France, Russia and the United States) and central powers (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria) from the European and African theatres of war were on display, ranging from water canteens and belt buckles to helmets and weapons.
Other aspects of the project included individual wreaths in the names of the 145 servicemen from Haslemere and the surrounding district being given to householders currently living in the homes of the servicemen who fell. Those wreaths were then laid on the Haslemere, Shottermill, Grayswood, Hindhead and Camelsdale War Memorials on Armistice Day. In addition, as November 11th got nearer, a 9 foot diameter poppy wreath was hung from the ceiling of St Christopher’s Church, forming a focal point for the ‘Lest We Forget’ Flower Festival held there in September.
The organisers wrote to thank us for our support, commenting that the project could not have happened without our support and also that of other local businesses who have contributed generously towards it.
You can follow the Haslemere Great War Centenary Project on Twitter and Facebook, and also find out more about the project on this website.