Impressive effort: Volunteers have knitted thousands of poppies

IN 1918 the town of Pontarddulais was suffering through the devastating effects of the First World War. Wives lost husbands, children were made to grow up fatherless and an entire generation of young men was lost.

To mark a century since the end of the Great War, Pontarddulais has paid tribute to the local fallen soldiers by decorating each lamp post in the town with a simple poppy marked with their names.

Displaying the names of these soldiers Pontarddulais has ensured that their local heroes are not just numbers adding to the 700,000 of British troops that died but real, brave men with stories to tell.

50 poppies pave signs, lamp posts and displays around the town with a further 53 to be added to the collection in the coming weeks.

This touching tribute launches the towns ‘Festival of Remembrance,’ a commemoration organised by local charity Pontarddulais Partners, the Pontarddulais Town Band and the local community.

The festival will include an amalgamation of events to ensure that the entire town turns red such as a remembrance concert at Pontarddulais Leisure Centre on November 10th; a pop-up museum; an Armistice Day parade and the refurbishment of the towns World War One Cenotaph.

The centrepiece of the festival will be a great concoction of 10,000 poppies made by local school children to be situated by the new Cenotaph to be unveiled on November 6th.

These events have been funded by grants from the local council, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Ty Cerdd.

Representative for Pontarddulais Partners and the town council, Catherine Evans has said: “It’s been inspiring to see so many people, including school children, give their time to the project. It’s been a true community effort and I feel very proud of the way Pontarddulais has come together to honour those that gave their lives for us.

The activities have been made possible through the support of a team of dedicated volunteers including community groups, local school children, community members and local businesses.

I hope this festival inspires a new generation to come and learn about our history and the contribution that people from this area made.”

100 years after ‘The War to end all Wars’ projects such as these are imperative in educating younger generations about the ultimate sacrifices these heroes made.

“The festival has engaged a new generation of young people in the act of remembrance. Students led the work to research fallen soldiers from the village and visited Swansea Waterfront Museum to learn about exhibiting historical memorabilia,” says Ms Evans.

As Pontarddulais is flooded with poppies and the local community band together much like they did in 1918, new generations remember the towns history and how the real heroes of the war were small-town, local boys.

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Bethan Thomas is your correspondent for Pontarddulais, Pontlliw, Hendy, Llangennech and Bryn email bethanthomas@llanellionline.news

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