July 24 2014 Latest news:
Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY
Friday, July 18, 2014
The First World War poster which features war minister Lord Kitchener and the slogan ‘Your country needs YOU’ has been turned into a 12-acre maze incorporating one million maize plants and 60,000 poppies.
Representatives and standard bearers from the Cambridgeshire branch of Royal British Legion were on hand today for the opening by Lady Emma Kitchener, the great great niece of Lord Kitchener.
Lady Kitchener said: “My great great uncle’s image has been used many times to commemorate the First World War but seldom, if ever, in such an imaginative and all-encompassing way. I could not be more delighted.”
Accompanied by her husband Julian Fellowes – the actor and writer of Downton Abbey- Lady Kitchener arrived by helicopter, snatching a photo of the maize as she landed next to the maze at Skylark garden centre at Wimblington.
Garden centre owner Edward Gowler said each year they had used different themes for the maze but this year was something special.
“This year we wanted to play our part in commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Great War. Alfred Leete’s stylised depiction of Lord Kitchener lends itself perfectly to being cut out in a field of maize.
“It is fantastic to have a direct link to the past and we were delighted that Lady Emma Kitchener has agreed to perform the official opening.”
Children from Thomas Eaton School, Wimblington, dug in to help Skylark Garden Centre plant more than 60,000 poppies in the shape of a giant poppy as part of the preparations for the maze.
Mr Gowler said: “The maze includes a giant poppy made from poppies which is 40m in diameter and covers an area of 1,300 square meters.
“It’s a huge area to plant, bigger than an Olympic size swimming pool, and with the help of the local school children we were able to plant over 60,000 Flanders poppies which have been specially grown for us.
“We believe it will be the biggest poppy in the world made from poppy plants and we have applied to Guinness World Records. Once they are in flower it will make a spectacular site for visitors to discover in the maze.”
The poppies are expected to be blooming, he said, within the next few weeks.
Proceeds from the sale of a maze maps which cost £1 each will go to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
Mr Gowler said the maze has two miles of pathways for visitors to walk round and he expects the maize to grow to at least 7ft.
“The head of Lord Kitchener in the maze is over 100m across,” he said. “The maze was planted in April; the pathways cut out in May and will be harvested in October after the maze closes.”
Skylark Maize Maze and Fun yard is open daily from 10am – 5pm (last entry 4pm) Saturday July 19 to September 4, then weekends until September 28.