23rd August 2018
On Monday 20 August, Chester’s MP, Chris Matheson, was taken on a tour of the Fallen for the Fallen WWI centenary memorial project. The tour was led by Andy Scargill from the Friends of the Countess of Chester Country Park, along with Upton Councillors Jill Houlbrook and Matt Bryan.
This began with a visit to the newly restored Upton-by-Chester War Memorial where they viewed the first carved poppy on the 3Km trail which leads to the Country Park. The group then walked the route through Upton and along the bridleway from Liverpool Road to the rear entrance into the park.
After briefly stopping at the Life for a Life Memorial Forest (opened by the late Duke of Westminster in July 2015) they then completed the trail to the wonderful memorial bench, which was officially opened by Steve Hughes from Chester’s Supertrees Project and Mike Farrell of the Armed Force’s Charity (SSAFA) at ‘Picnic in the Park’ earlier this month.
Here they met Paul Edwards of Ossum Tree Carving who has created the bench and all the poppies along the trail from a nearby 100-year-old cedar tree which sadly had to be felled. He also spoke to Morag Scargill, the Chair of the Friends Group.
They then moved on to Chester Cathedral where they were joined by the Acting Dean, Jane Brooke, Sue Petranca, the Cathedral Exhibition Manager and Julie Mitchell of Chester Art Days who had worked with pupils from all of Upton’s schools to create a stunning five-panel mural about the Fallen for the Fallen story.
This will be displayed in the Cathedral’s cloisters until November when, on Armistice Day, we remember the end of the WWI 100 years ago and all those affected in so many ways by this war.
Commenting in the visitor book about the mural, Mr Matheson described it as being, “Wonderful, multi-layered and thought provoking.”
Although the main focus for ‘remembrance’ in Chester will be the war memorial in the Cathedral grounds, on that same day a group will also gather at the Upton-by-Chester memorial and then walk the Poppy Trail to the Memorial Bench in the Country Park where a short service will be held.
The official launch of the whole Fallen for the Fallen project is likely to be the 31st October to correspond with the day Wilfred Owen wrote his final letter home from the front to his mother – he was then killed in action on the 4th November 1918, just a week before armistice was declared.
Mr Scargill said, “The words contained within, particularly the final paragraph of, this letter have massively influenced all those involved and then informed a lot of our thinking as the project evolved.”
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