There’s been a bit of a rush on red wool in the market town of Otley over the past few months. The knitters and natterers who click their needles at the parish church have produced 16,000 poppies which have made a magnificent tribute to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One.
Most of the poppies are draped on and around the church, but they are also prominent in the rest of the town, where there is a trail of poppies painted on the pavement, leading to the memorial gardens where there are the silhouettes of two Tommys, soldiers from the war. It’s beautiful.
In and among the sea of red are white peace and purple poppies to commemorate animal victims of war. White poppies were first worn in 1933 after being introduced by the Co-Operative Women’s Guild to stand for peace and commemorate all casualties, including civilians and non-British casualties.
According to the report in my old paper, the Telegraph and Argus, the town will also be taking part in the international Battle’s O’er event on November 11, Armistice Day, where pipers and buglers will start commemorations starting early in the morning. Here in Calverley, the piper will play the lament at 6am. I’ll set my alarm, I really will. Later in the day, beacons will be lit, church bells rung, and 100 Town Criers, including Otley’s, will join together in an International Cry for Peace around the World, it will be a very loud cry indeed.