Last year the public response during Covid to the Remembrance Day display was really quite inspiring, the sense of pride and the community spirit we saw in Breightmet motivated us all to go that extra mile this year. So in early 2021 we created a fundraiser with a goal of £450, the community donated £200 with a 1/4 of that coming from just one person. To raise the remainder we held a 'Magical Forest Event' which brought our total to £530.
The paint, masks, jigsaws, sanders, wood and other assorted tools are not cheap, so in partnership work with Councillor Warren and Councillor Hartigan we came up with a plan of making 100 wooden poppies, an increase of five times more than last year. Councillor Warren focused on creating her horse and plane, she had this great idea of trailing netting with plastic poppies attached to each silhouette. Yet all these great ideas require one main thing, a lot of time, energy and volunteer effort.
So that's exactly what we all did, Adele's partner Alex was able to arrange and cut silhouettes of the horse and plan the assembled pieces together from his work at Hardscape, he also arranged for the leafs on the wooden poppies to be cut which saved us countless hours. In rain and wind we took shelter at the Garstang Hub painting, turning, painting again and then applying protective coats. After months of preparation and planning everything started to come together.
This project was not just about paying respect to those who have served in our armed forces or community spirit, it was also about trying to raise money for the Royal British Legion. In other wards they raise thousands of pounds with places like Horwich raising tens of thousands, however here in Breightmet for last year we raised just £100, we want to change that. Through out the entire project we have opened it up to the public, giving an opportunity to everyone to help make this display, and when it came down to finally creating the display and putting up the lamp post poppies, for all of us who gave our time and effort, it had been very much worth the investment.
Five soldier silehouttes, a silehoutte of a horse, a silehoutte of a plane, two poppy netting trails, 20 large wooden poppies, 100 small wooden poppies, countless lamp post poppies and plastic netting poppies high on the posts. We believe this is one of the biggest displays in Bolton, if not the biggest.
Yet without raising money for the Royal British Legion it would feel as though we have negated the purpose of the 'remembrance' as there are those that have served, who can be helped today, not just remembered those we've lost. Councillor Hartigan did a sponsored 10k walk, Councillor Warren opened a donation page and we all joined together on a weekend to host a table selling Royal British Legion merchandise outside Iceland on the Breightmet shopping estate, at Bolton Newt we made a donation of 20 small wooden poppies to help raise funding.
In the end, we believe we have collectively raised at least, over £500, we won't know yet for a while the total amount as the tins have yet to be opened. In comparison to other wards who raise thousands, we're not there yet, but in comparison to last year we have managed to raise five times more for the Royal British Legion than we did in 2020. So with the public response on social media, the community pride felt by residents of Breightmet, the fact that not a single poppy or silehoutte was stolen or damaged and that we raised money for the Royal British Legion, I would have to say this was a fantastic success.
A very big thank you goes out to all those who helped in this project. Alex, Adele, Stuart, Simon, Jasmine, Alun, David, Sue, Neil and Margaret, not forgetting all those who donated bottles. We're also not forgetting the residents on Bury Road, who watched over the display on a daily basis to help ensure it was treated with the respect it deserved. Thank you to everyone and anyone I may have missed out.