Rare tree decorated with 500 poppies to mark Armistice Centenary

Valerie Arno, June Hogg, Amanda Kirkman and Jenny Wootton next to the 100 year old tree decorated with 500 poppies at St Andrews Church, Jevington Photo by Jon Rigby)
Valerie Arno, June Hogg, Amanda Kirkman and Jenny Wootton next to the 100 year old tree decorated with 500 poppies at St Andrews Church, Jevington Photo by Jon Rigby)

Villagers have decorated a tree planted to mark the end of the First World War with poppies to commemorate the Armistice Centenary.

The rare and ‘beautiful’ Weeping Elm outside St Andrew’s Church in Jevington has been showered with bright red poppies all over its branches as a mark of respect to the fallen.

The tree has been adorned with poppies

The tree has been adorned with poppies

Around 500 recyclable Remembrance flowers were made by children of St John’s Meads school, residents, and members of the church’s Flower Guild.

Amanda Kirkman, of St Andrews, said, “We, at St Andrew’s, thought the tree’s longevity and significance should be recognised in this Centenary year so we decided to adorn it with poppies to remember those who perished in the War.”

Roll of honour of those killed in the First World War from towns and villages around Eastbourne

The tree was planted in the churchyard in 1918 by Reverend Percy Ferris to commemorate the end of WW1.

Photo by Jon Rigby

Photo by Jon Rigby

“The story is just so lovely of the tree,” Amanda said, “Reverend Ferris’ daughter recently came back, aged 101, and remembered being there aged six and putting the primroses for the people who died in the war.”

The tree was originally bought from Germany in 1912 by Henry Canton, who gifted it to the Reverend to transplant it to Jevington in 1918.

A century on, it is a living, breathing memorial and symbol of Remembrance.

Amanda added, “People have walked up to it thinking the poppies were real. We’re very proud of it. It’s been a real joint effort.

“I’m very passionate about the church and want to keep it alive and open because it’s 1,000 years-old. That’s another reason behind it, to raise awareness of this beautiful church.”