AN ‘unreserved apology’ has been issued after a village’s vision for a sea of commemorative scarlet poppies was dashed.
Oving residents’ efforts to scatter seeds in preparation to remember those who fell in the first world war have been wasted, as none of the flowers have bloomed.
The village banks are believed to have been mown repeatedly by West Sussex County Council – despite an agreement they would not be cut.
“I’m dismayed and distressed that this has happened,” said Louise Goldsmith, leader of West Sussex County Council. “Naturally I will be asking questions at County Hall as to why and how this occurred.
“This is a very sensitive and important anniversary which we have commemorated ourselves and we are very thankful to all towns and villages and parishes, including Oving, that have helped commemorate the 100-year anniversary of the Great War.
“This was a genuine error. Apologising unreservedly seems inadequate for the potential offence this may have caused.”
Oving resident Anne Jenkins, organised the poppy seed scattering in March.
“I am a little disappointed after people went to all that effort,” she said.
“We had a really nice day when the village came together.
“Residents even tried to stop them cutting the grass, but they said it was their job.”
Mrs Jenkins said it was ‘slightly ironic’ some of the money for the 2.5kg of poppy seeds came from a county council grant.
Villager Jeremy Madden, said: “We all went and scattered our seeds, much enjoyed by my six-year-old and all the other village kids. The idea was to cover all the grass verges through the village with poppies. Apart from a few places in the village where we always get poppies there is nothing to show for all our efforts.”
However, the lack of poppies didn’t stop villagers commemorating the event in their own way. Dozens of poppies were crocheted for the village to keep for future remembrance events and the youth club wrote poems to mark the centenary.