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Bank House in Leek remembers with poppy artwork

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: August 09, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

Pictured with the poppies artwork at Bank House Day Centre are Florence Phillips, Phylis Gell and Maurice Finch.

Pictured with the poppies artwork at Bank House Day Centre are Florence Phillips, Phylis Gell and Maurice Finch.

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SENIOR citizens at Leek's Bank House Day Centre spent a day in quiet reflection on Monday – 100 years on from the date that the UK declared war on Germany.

Although day centre members are too young to remember the First World War, all of their families were affected by the events of the four-year conflict, and they spent August 4 talking about their memories.

In the run-up to the day, artist Sue Fox from Cheddleton led weekly art sessions at the St Edward Street centre, to help elderly members paint a collage depicting a field of poppies to commemorate the occasion.

Using watercolours and acrylic paints, individuals were able to contribute their own canvases which fit together like a jigsaw on the wall.

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Cynthia Cottrell, a retired pottery artist from Biddulph, particularly enjoyed her sessions with a paintbrush.

And, for 97-year-old Florence Phillips from Leek, who was born during the war years, it brought back memories of her early childhood when she lived in Springfield Road.

She recalled: "My mother, Fanny Heath, used to walk me down from our cottage to my grandma's house in Waterloo Street and I can remember her telling me one day, as we reached the bottom of Fountain Street, that there was going to be a great big monument built here to remember the war dead.

"As I child, I could never have visualised just how big that monument would be.

"Later in life I used to make poppies as a member of the women's section of the Royal British Legion and I would stand on street corners selling them. It's important that we never forget."

Bank House manager Hazel Roberts said: "We like to keep abreast of current affairs and, as the First World War is so prevalent in the news right now, we felt we should do something to mark the centenary.

"We always like to involve our clients in activities which will bring back memories, and although the outbreak of war is not really something to be celebrated, we thought it important to acknowledge the date.

"The artwork has been a great way of stimulating interest and members have really enjoyed the painting guided by artist Sue Fox who is really great at working with people on a one to one basis."

Bank House is now open every weekday, including Bank Holidays, from 9am until 3pm and offers a free 'taster' session to allow older people to see for themselves the services on offer.

Contact Hazel on 01538 383665 or via enquiries@bankhousedaycare.co.uk to find out more.

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