A Stillness heard around the world: Bramhall Flower festival commemorates First World War centenary

26 October 2018 | Chloe Bowerbank

CHESHIRE’S LARGEST FLOWER FESTIVAL OF THE YEAR ALL SET TO COMMEMORATE WW1 ARMISTICE CENTENARY
Bramhall church ‘Stillness Around the World’ event to feature five metre‐high plastic bottle poppy cascades, Menin Gate memorial and frontline trench mock‐ups.

We hope the thousands of hand‐crafted poppies that will decorate the exterior and interior of the church, together with the floral displays and reproduction memorials, will inspire visitors to remember and honour the fallen
Val Everard

Five metre‐high cascades of thousands of hand‐crafted poppies, together with one of the largest flower festivals to be staged in Cheshire this year, is to be held in Bramhall, Stockport, next month (November) to commemorate the centenary of the WW1 Armistice.

The four‐day event ‐ which will feature waves of poppies fashioned from discarded plastic bottles, a meandering swathe of hundreds of knitted poppies, a large‐scale mock‐up of the Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing, plus scores of floral portrayals of WW1 poems, scenes and people ‐ will take place at Bramhall Methodist Church in the centre of the village from November 08‐11.

The festival ‐ entitled ‘A Stillness Heard Around The World’ ‐ will also include an electro‐folk concert
by acclaimed WW1 storytellers Harp and A Monkey, replica Tomb of the Unknown Warrior and Cenotaph memorials and a life‐size walk‐through trench. It will close with a dedicated 11am service of remembrance on November 11 to honour the estimated 700,000 men and women who lost their lives in the First World War, almost 50 of whom lived locally. Those who died in subsequent conflicts
and the Second World War will also be remembered.

The floral arrangements ‐ which will comprise more than 50 themed designs made up of over 3,000 blooms sourced from all over the world ‐ are being put together by leading lights from the National Association of Flower Arrangement Societies in Cheshire ‐ under the watchful eye of Royal Horticultural Society gold and silver award winner Val Seed and her co‐ supervisor Chris O’Hara.
Bramhall Methodist Church member Val ‐ who along with fellow RHS award‐winning arranger Chris has also co‐ordinated floral displays for HM Queen Elizabeth II ‐ is working with over 100 church members and local volunteers to stage the event.

Among the WW1 poetry, scenes and people chosen to inspire the floral displays are WB Yates’s ‘An Irish Airman Foresees His Own Death’ and Isaac Rosenberg’s ‘Break of Day In the Trenches’; the 1914 no man’s land Christmas Eve truce football match (which the Germans won 3‐2); the often‐resented Thankful Villages (where all those who went off to fight returned alive); professional dancer, mistress and spy Mata Hari; and celebrated British nurse Edith Cavell.

“We hope the thousands of hand‐crafted poppies that will decorate the exterior and interior of the church, together with the floral displays and reproduction memorials, will inspire visitors to remember and honour the fallen,” said Val (better‐known locally as Val Everard). “We’d love to think the event will also encourage young and old alike to offer up personal thanks for those who survived ‐ many of whom returned home both mentally and physically broken.”

The November 08‐11 festival will be open to the general public ‐ with conducted tours for local schools and youth organisations ‐ between 10am and 8pm (last entry 7pm) Thursday to Saturday and 12 noon to 4pm on Sunday. The electro‐folk concert will be held on Friday, November 09 starting at 7pm. Light lunches and refreshments will be served from 11am to 4pm Thursday to Saturday in an imitation field kitchen.

Visitors who wish to pay personal tributes to the fallen will be able to plant wooden poppy crosses in the church’s front lawn.

The recycled plastic bottle poppy cascades ‐ which will decorate the church frontage and flag up the forthcoming festival ‐ will be erected on the morning of Thursday, October 11.

Festival admission is £5 per person (free entry for accompanied children). Concert admission will cost £10 (inclusive of the festival entrance charge). All profits will go to The Royal British Legion.

Bramhall Methodist Church, one of the largest Methodist churches in the UK, is located next to the local shopping centre on Bramhall Lane South, SK7 1AL.