The Wokingham Paper

Borough pays its respects – from a distance

Wokingham Borough Mayor Cllr Malcolm Richards and Deputy Mayor Cllr Keith Baker MBE were joined by councillors, and council leaders to pay their respects to fallen soldiers.

EVERY aspect of the borough’s normal Remembrance Sunday was different this year as a result of the coronavirus situation.

With no large gatherings and limited church services, residents came out to show their appreciation in new ways.

Here is how Remembrance Day was honoured across the borough.


A small number of Arborfield residents combined their lockdown daily exercise with a two-minute silence at the war memorial. Social distancing was in force throughout.


Poppies made from recycled materials, created by Girl Guides at Earley St Peter’s church.


St James Church in Finchampstead hosted a garden of remembrance where villagers could leave poppies and crosses.


A happy band of crochet “hookers” created a stunning display of bright red poppies, causing a stir among passers-by.

The group from Hurst, Woodley and Twyford “yarn bombed” a busy junction on the A321 Wokingham to Twyford road with the poppies made from knitting wool.

Pip Etheridge, of Hurst, said the poppies had been in a Remembrance display outside St Nicholas Church, Hurst for the past two years. But this year with people unable to attend the usual Remembrance service there the group created the display at the School Road/A321 junction by Hurst pond.

“We’ve had lots of lovely comments,” she said. The group is still managing to meet online for their “hooker” sessions. Crochet is made using a needle with a hook on the end.

The poppy makers also included Catherine Pearce, Sue Cummings, Ellen Holmes, Jo Fox, Jane Carr, Tina Needham and Kirsty Dowding. Maggie Hodgkins and Lou Robinson helped put up this year’s display which twines round the village sign, railings and the pond bench.

Hurst’s parish councillors Wayne Smith and Michael Holdstock planted 2,500 daffodil bulbs last weekend by the village’s entrance signs. Villagers are now offering to help plant the remaining 2,500 bulbs.

The village’s annual litter pick due this Saturday has been postponed until after the current Covid-19 lockdown.


Residents at Care UK’s Parsons Grange, on Westall Street in Shinfield, marked Armistice Day by creating poppies in memory of friends and family who have served in the armed forces.

Made out of felt, some of the poppies have been added to the silhouette of a soldier in the home to form a sea of poppies, while others have been sold to the community.

All proceeds will go to Help for Heroes which provides counselling and support for veterans and their families to help them recover.

Ruth Halls, Home Manager at Parsons Grange, said: “We wanted to do something special to mark this year’s Armistice Day and to remember those who have served in the armed forces, including some of the residents, and their friends and family.

“While creating the poppies, residents reminisced about their younger years, providing a wonderful opportunity for everyone to share stories of growing up in wartime Britain.

“We’re thrilled with the result of their hard work, and all for a very good cause.”


Resourceful churches in Twyford and Hurst managed to share their Remembrance Day service and wreath laying ceremonies by going online.

Clergy from St Marys, Twyford, St James, Ruscombe, Twyford United Reformed Church, St Thomas More RC Church, Twyford and St Nicholas, Hurst all contributed to a service broadcast live on YouTube on Sunday.

Videos of wreaths being laid at St Marys, St James and St Nicholas war memorials, along with Sunday’s Remembrance service, at the THRU-Christ YouTube channel Some wreaths were laid before the recent Covid-19 lockdown.

Duncan Steele from St Mary’s has been praised for his video editing skills which he used in the Remembrance project.

Since last Thursday’s new lockdown church-going has been restricted to visits for individual prayer, funerals or related events for someone who has died, or, in exceptional circumstances, weddings.


At 11am yesterday, Wokingham Borough Mayor Cllr Malcolm Richards and Deputy Mayor Cllr Keith Baker MBE, were joined by councillors, and council leaders to pay their respects to fallen soldiers. The socially distanced workplace gathering was held at Shute End.

A display of knitted poppies has lit up the entrance to The Bradbury Centre in Wokingham.

Part of Wokingham Methodist Church, the project was created by its members.

Marion Heath, who was its mastermind, said that the idea came during the 2018 commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.

“The church ladies responded with enthusiasm as always and I distributed various patterns and supplied the central black button which I was able to buy in bulk,” she said.

“We had an overwhelming response and the Church and Cafe Mosaic were decorated with them all for the weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday.2018.”

As the knitted and crocheted creations had had so much work, Ms Heath wanted to ensure that they would be appreciated in future years.

“They were kept in storage,” she explained. “This year is 100 years since the British Leghion was set up. We had hoped to commemorate this year, but unfortunately, the church is in lockdown. The poppies are on display on the windowsills and porch areas of the premises for the public to see from the outside.”

This is not the only project that church members have been working on.

Ms Heath said that she has been appealing for knitted and crocheted garments including squares hats and blankets. These will go to Sierra Leone via the Maidenhead branch of Soroptimist International, a worldwide volunteer service organisation for women who work for peace.

“The items I have collected have been phenomenal in quantity and I am currently working out how to get them to Maidenhead for the next cargo ship delivery at the end of this month,” she said.

“The response from members to the various appeals I have made to them over the years through Girl Guiding service projects overseas has been amazing.

“We are richly blessed with our church community.”

A Wokingham funeral directors has created a window display to mark Remembrance Sunday.

Funeral Co-ordinators Lisa Palmer and Karen Prior created the window display to ensure the important day is still marked despite everything else going on in 2020.

The window is on display at JB Hall Funeral Directors, in Finchampstead Road.

Even though many shops will be closed during lockdown, it is hoped people will still see the display as they walk past.

A garden of remembrance was installed outside Wokingham town hall for residents to use.

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