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Remembrance Sunday will mark a special anniversary at War Memorial

Published: 27 October 2023

Remembrance Sunday will mark a special anniversary at War Memorial City War Memorial in Northernhay Gardens

Preparations are well underway for this year’s Remembrance Sunday service at Northernhay Gardens.

And this year the service will highlight a very special milestone in the history of Exeter’s iconic City War Memorial.

The Lord Mayor of Exeter Cllr Kevin Mitchell will be accompanied by civic dignitaries and representatives of the military at the annual service on Sunday 12 November.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the City War Memorial in Northernhay Gardens.

To mark the occasion the memorial will be decorated in knitted poppies which were created in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, and previously displayed at Exeter Cathedral in 2017.

An exhibition will take place prior to Remembrance Sunday at the historic Guildhall, from Monday 30 October until Saturday 11 November, where all the poppies will be on display.

The Devon County Show organised the knitted poppies tribute in 2017 to those from the South West who lost their lives in the First World War.

Inspiration for the poppy display came from a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show in 2016, where hundreds of thousands of handmade poppies turned the grounds red in a tribute to those who had served in the Great War.

Organiser Deborah Custance Baker, Director of Devon Agricultural Association, said: “It was a breath-taking and an emotional display, and I returned to Devon planning how we could remember the Devon men and women who lost their lives in the First World War. I asked for 11,500 handmade poppies to represent the 11,500 men and women from Devon who lost their lives.

“11,500 was quite a daunting number – but people were keen to support the initiative and I ended up with 34,000 poppies which represents those lives lost from Cornwall, Devon, Somerset and Dorset.

“I was overwhelmed by the support this tribute received and am delighted people will have an opportunity to see it again.”

The Grade II listed City War Memorial is the most prominent and imposing monument in Northernhay Gardens and was unveiled 100 years ago in 1923.

Funded by public subscription, the structure reveals a dedication not only to the citizens of Exeter, but also to the people of Devon. Carved into the stonework around the plinth is an inscription:

In proud and grateful memory of the men and women of Exeter and of Devon who gave their lives in the Great War 1914-1918. Their name liveth for evermore.

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