AN eye-catching cascade of over 9,000 hand-knitted poppies has been draped from a Selkirk church in the run up to this year’s centenary commemorations of Armistice.

What began as a small-scale community project in February – with the aim of producing a woollen poppy for each of the town’s 292 soldiers who died in the Great War – soon spiralled into a major achievement with more than 100 knitters picking up their needles.

And on Friday many of the volunteer knitters as well as the 50 or so who tied the poppies onto military netting witnessed the cascade being hung from the Parish Church steeple.

David Deacon, coordinator of the Selkirk Remembrance project, is delighted with the community response to his initial poppy appeal.

He said: “Our aim to begin with was to get 292 poppies or maybe even 1296 for each of the soldiers who went off to war.

“We exceeded that, so we thought ‘well, let’s try and get one for every man, woman and child in Selkirk’ which is about 5,500 to 6,000 people.

“And we soon exceeded that, we’ve just gone past the 9,000 mark, which now represents one for every person in the entire parish of Selkirk.

“As a community, it’s been fantastic because people have gotten little groups together - some have even used it for rehab and recovery from hospital operations.”

A total of 1296 young men left Selkirk to fight for their country on the battlefields of Europe and beyond during the 1914-1918 conflict.

Only 1004 of them came home.

The symbolism and significance of the cascade at the Church, as well as a smaller tribute of knitted poppies hung from the town-centre Pant Well, isn’t lost on Mr Deacon.

He added: “This Parish Church is probably where a lot of the young men who went off to war would have come in the days before they left.

“The Pant Well is also significant as they would have left Selkirk from that very spot to go onto training and then onto the Front.

“We are commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of First World War – and I feel Selkirk is doing this as a community.”

The appeal for knitters was first made back in February with the world-famous Selkirk Yarnstormers, under the guidance of Kay Ross, taking up the challenge.

Joining the 40 or so Yarnstormers were a further 50 or 60 volunteers who spent much of the summer producing the eye-catching red poppies.

Several white poppies, in remembrance of the conscientious objectors, were also produced.

Over the past two weekends the poppies were tied to military netting within the Parish Church hall by around 60 volunteers.

Kay Ross told us: “This has been a magnificent achievement by so many people and it is a fitting tribute to the people who went off to war.”

Joining Mr Deacon on Friday to help with the draping of the cascade was a fellow former soldier Sandy Monks.

And four of the town’s retained firefighters were also on hand to prevent any snags.

Organisers are planning further commemorations in the run up to Remembrance on Sunday, November 11.

As well as a unique parade from the Parish Church to the War Memorial on the Sunday morning, which will include the flag-bearers from all Selkirk’s casting societies, the Town Hall will be illuminated with red lighting.