It’s been very busy at Ivy Court in Norwich this month, on the lead up to Remembrance Day, with lots of craft sessions to produce a stunning display for our Remembrance Day ceremony.
The ladies enjoyed crafts in the cinema room, painting poppies and making autumn wreaths for their doors, all while chatting, laughing and enjoying some tunes. During our craft sessions we also created a Lone Soldier to complete our display. This was made up of painted plastic bottle bottoms as the poppies and the outline of soldier, who stands tall to remind us of all those whom we shall not forget.
The purple poppies in the display act as a salute to the many animals who served the country. Horses, donkeys, mules and camels carried food, water, ammunition and medical supplies to men at the front many of them dying on the battlefield, and dogs and pigeons carried messages. Canaries were used to detect poisonous gas, and cats and dogs were trained to hunt rats in the trenches. These acts turned the fortune of many soldiers.
Many residents and staff have already said what a beautiful display we have all made and how perfect it looks.
Resident Sidney, 95, served in the Royal Navy during WW2. On being asked to lay the wreath in the garden on Remembrance Day, he took his medals out of their box and wore them with pride for the ceremony.
Sidney told stories of being on the Navy ship going all around the world, firstly America and Canada then around to Japan visiting many other countries on the way. Saying goodbye to one of his best friend's aged 17, at Liverpool Street Station and never seeing him again was a sad memory as he never returned home, Sidney described the adrenaline for him, aged 17 on his missions with comrades and of the worry of those at home waiting for news. He also told us of the locals in Japan, where he docked, living in long boats day and night, sometimes 20 family members all laying like sardines under cover, and how far removed the Japan he saw is from that he sees on TV now.
The BBC sounds app streamed the live feed from the cenotaph with the sounds of the guards playing and the official announcements before the 2 minutes silence where we laid the wreath and Sidney had a moment to reflect, joined by staff and fellow residents in the garden and others from the windows. Also taking part from just inside was Ted, who served in the RAF around the same time as Sidney and he also told us stories after the last post poignantly ended the silence.
Thank you to the staff for taking a moment to pause and reflect with our residents, in such an important event, it was a very touching tribute.