Carrick donations of knitted poppies now in place in Ypres

Patrica Hawkins at St. George's Memorial Church in Ypres.
Patrica Hawkins at St. George's Memorial Church in Ypres.

Carrick donations to an appeal for knitted poppies have been put in place at St. George’s Memorial Church in Ypres, in Belgium.

Dame Patricia Hawkins-Windsor MBE who made the appeal has been living in Flanders since 1972 with her husband Peter.

The couple also help with Somme Association visits from the province to Europe.

The 650 poppies donated locally have been included in a towering display at the church.

The initiative was organised to mark the 100th year commemoration of WWI.

Joining the congregation on Sunday will be Cllr. Cheryl Johnston, deputy mayor of Mid and East Antrim and Ald. May Beattie.

St. George’s Memorial Church was built by public subscription in memory of loved ones lost in the First World War.

Dame Patricia said: “I would like to give my most sincere thanks to all the Carrickfergus people which will be decorating our church on November 11.”

She added: “I became involved with the church’s many visitors and was always fascinated by the reasons for their visits.

“As we lived in Flanders Fields, I thought why not try and visit as many graves as possible of the Carrick boys who had never returned, in order that we could pay respect and homage to those resting places, by visiting on behalf of their loved ones at home – those who had never been able to do so for themselves.

Some knitted poppies have names of fallen soldiers attached.

Some knitted poppies have names of fallen soldiers attached.

“A most poignant moment was finding two Carrick lads’ graves side-by-side - in all our treks in Flanders Fields we had never come across that before or since.”

Another noteworthy discovery was the grave of the great-great-great uncle of the Duchess of Cambridge, Baroness of Carrickfergus.