AN MP has called for Rayleigh’s poppy waterfall to be brought back – and wants it to become an annual fixture.

About 12,000 hand-made poppies went on display at Rayleigh’s Holy Trinity Church in October, as a commemoration of the 100 years since the end of the First World War.

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They were on display until November 16, and were made by residents in Rayleigh.

Now Mark Francois, MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, has asked for residents’ views about whether to regularly bring the cascading river of red back.

He said: “I would like to see the poppy waterfall carefully maintained, with some of the poppies replaced as necessary, and displayed in the town every November, as a tribute to those who gave their lives so that we could continue to live in a free country.

“It might also be possible, to rotate the venue each year – perhaps at the Mill Hall, the Rayleigh Windmill, the Civic Suite, or even elsewhere – in order to keep this interesting and to encourage people from outside our town to visit and pay their respects too.”

Mr Francois said he acknowledges the centenary of the end of the war may have been a one-off event, and that the waterfall took a huge amount of work to create, but would still be keen to make a poppy commemoration a yearly event in Rayleigh.

He stated an alternative option could be creating poppy figurines to be displayed around the town.

He has invited residents to have their say on the matter and to contact him by September 12.

He added: “Depending on what response we get, I will then want to liaise with the Rayleigh Royal British Legion, the Reverend David Oxtoby at Holy Trinity Church, Mike Davies at the Rayleigh Town Museum, the Rayleigh Chamber of Trade, Rayleigh Town Council and others who were involved in the production of the waterfall itself to see whether it might be possible to carry this forward.”

Residents are keen on the idea.

Mike Davies said: “The ‘wave of poppies’ was a truly inspirational concept executed by a significant number of individual and groups not only in Rayleigh but from the surrounding area as well.

“Certainly, the poppies must be preserved for the future and I can see both the pros and cons of displaying them each year, certainly the logistics will be a challenge for the volunteers involved.”

Tracey Franks said: “If the waterfall is not possible I for one quite like the suggestion of using the poppies to cover the silhouettes and they can be placed around the town.

“They were a breathtaking sight last year.”

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