Selsey seven-year-old raises Poppy Appeal funds with garden Remembrance display

A seven-year-old boy from Selsey was so upset that he could not help out with the poppy collection this year that his mother came up with a different way for them to raise funds.

Arlan West and his mother Natalie Butterworth have transformed their front garden in Wellington Gardens with a poignant Remembrance display.

Natalie said Arlan had ‘absolutely loved’ joining her in Selsey High Street last year to sell poppies.

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“He was thoroughly upset that he couldn’t do his normal poppy collection,” she said. “His dad is ex-forces, so it means more to him.”

Arlan West by the Remembrance display in his Selsey garden

Instead, they spent two weeks assembling the garden display by laying out 57 crosses, each bearing the name of one of the 57 Selsey men who died in the First World War.

They then added bunting, a display in the window and even a bunker, upon which rests a box of poppies and a collection tin for people to make a donation.

“It just grew and grew,” Natalie said.

The feedback from neighbours had been ‘phenomenal’, she said.

Arlan West by the Remembrance display in his Selsey garden

“It’s nice to see cars pulling up, people coming up to get their poppies, and just taking a minute to enjoy it,” she said. “Arlan likes to sit at the window and wave at people.”

It is particularly meaningful this year considering that parades and gatherings to mark Remembrance Sunday have been cancelled.

“A lot of people are unsure of how to mark the occasion this year, so actually its been quite a nice thing for people to join in with,” she said.

On Remembrance Sunday, Arlan usually joins his father in laying a wreath at the war memorial, but this year will be different because his dad, who works abroad, has been unable to return to the country due to the pandemic.

Arlan West by the Remembrance display in his Selsey garden

Instead, Arlan will take his father’s medals and lay the wreath in the garden on his behalf, before observing a two-minute silence.

“It’s our own little way of marking it really,” Natalie said.

Arlan is also doing a sponsored bike ride which he hopes to complete by Sunday.

He will be riding 25.1 miles in total – the significance being that the distance between Selsey and Flanders Field is 251 miles.

The garden display. Photo by: LD CapturedImages

Between the garden display and donations for the bike ride, Arlan has already raised more than £1,000.

Natalie said: “We weren’t aiming for anything near that amount, but people have been so generous.

“Selsey is such a lovely community, people all pull together.

“It’s the feeling that people do still appreciate the memory of the fallen.”

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