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View from the Vicarage

POPPIES IN REMEMBRANCE
June 2014

On 28 June 1914, the death of an archduke in Austria set off diplomatic repercussions that led to world war. A century later it is now a matter for historians to interpret the ensuing conflict, for there is no-one left who can contradict their assertions with the authority of 'I know, for I was there'.

Even before the end of the Great War (as it was called until after the outbreak of the Second World War) poppies became associated with the sacrifice of so many lives, not least because of a poem penned by a Canadian soldier John McCrae, In Flanders Fields, that he wrote in May 1915 and published later that year.

McCrae came from Guelph, Ontario, where a brother-in-law of mine lives. I have been there and know some-thing of the pride that Canadians take in their nation's part in that great struggle and the heritage they have in that poem, as well as in the impressive stone monuments to their fallen, such as those in Ypres and Vimy.

My late wife Margarita was born on 28 June. She was, as many of you will know, a Canadian. From her earliest days with me in England she took great delight when she saw fields or waysides with poppies in them.

In her later years Margarita often brought poppies into her artwork; at first in her watercolours and then later in her highly-original textile art. The picture below is of a work she created in 2007 for an exhibition, and was the first piece she sold commercially.

Margrita died a month after her birthday last year. To mark the first anniversary since then, my daughters will help me offer an exhibition of her artwork in the parish church, that will be held on Saturday 27 July and Sunday 28 July - please do come to see it if you can.

Though Margarita's original artwork will not be for sale, printed copies will be. Any money raised will be given to a charity supporting the Outpatients Department at Colchester Hospital, where she was a nurse, and Christian Aid a charity that works in so many war-torn parts of the world.

Gerard Moate
Vicar & Lecturer

The Vicar
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