Working together with the local community in Upton and The Land Trust, the Friends of the Countess of Chester Country Park are launching a project to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the first world war.
Local wood carver Paul Edward will be using a cedar tree from Upton to carve a memorial poppy trail leading from the Upton war memorial into the Country Park, passing by the Life for a Life Memorial Forest, to a carved wooden bench in the centre of the Park. The tree, which has come to the end of its life and has had to be felled will be used to create a memorial to those who fell during WW1 or those who suffered as a result of it.
The project will be called ‘Fallen for the Fallen’.
The Friends are also in discussion with the National Trust at Chirk Castle where a similar cedar tree, which fell there in 2014, was used to create a bench to commemorate the beginning of the war. The Friends hope that a link can be forged between the two memorials.
Describing some of the detail of the project, Andy Scargill from the Friends Group said, “Each of the carved poppies along the trail will represent two or more of the soldiers whose names appear on the Upton War Memorial and local school children will work with The Conservation Volunteers (TCV) to sow wild flowers, including poppies, around each one. The children will also work with Julie Mitchell our town crier and local artist to create a mural which will represent and symbolise the learning journey the community has made reflecting upon World War One, the journey from the War Memorial to the Country Park and features the soldiers whose names are on the War Memorial. The mural will be displayed in a prominent local site to enable the community and visitors to see, and reflect upon, the children’s work.”
On the 11th November it is intended that, following a service at the Upton War Memorial, there will be an opportunity for people to follow the poppy trail to the memorial bench for a time of quiet and reflection. The poppies and bench will then remain in place as a permanent reminder of the human cost of war and a sign of hope for a peaceful future.
The Friends are grateful for the support from local Upton Councillor, Jill Houlbrook who is a member of the group and has provided practical resources to help us make this happen. “Providing a means of helping local people, and others, remember something which impacted massively on their community all those years ago has been on my mind for some time,” Cllr Houlbrook said, “I am pleased therefore to be part of this project, particularly as it also involves the Country Park which is now such an important part of Upton.” The Friends are also grateful to the many other people who have helped them create what they believe will play an important part in how Chester remembers Armistice Day in this special centenary year.