It's official: Ripon's amazing poppy displays are award-winning!

Ripon Town Hall's curtains of poppies illuminated at night. Picture: Rodney Towers.
Ripon Town Hall's curtains of poppies illuminated at night. Picture: Rodney Towers.

It was only a matter of time - Ripon’s breathtaking displays of poppies are officially award-winning!

On Friday night, Ripon Community Poppy Project was presented with a special recognition award at the Harrogate and District Volunteering Oscars, supported by the Ripon Gazette.

The full awards citation read out on the night says: "It’s not every day you get a project that manages to galvanise the whole community. Young people, the elderly, community groups and businesses, the list goes on…

"In this special centenary year, where towns and cities across the country are commemorating the First World War, Ripon’s efforts have been absolutely staggering.

"This award-winning project has inspired the whole city to knit 50,000 poppies to line the route for Remembrance this year, from Ripon Spa Gardens right up to Ripon Cathedral.

"Thousands of volunteers have made this happen, producing incredible displays that move and inspire everyone who sees them.

"Ripon residents have taken this project firmly to their hearts, pouring all of their love and care into honouring those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

"What started out as just an idea has grown beyond all expectations, bringing the whole city together to do something unforgettably special.

"If you mention the poppies to anyone in Ripon, you’re almost certain to get the response that they have been involved in some way - knitting, helping to put up the displays, or setting up a knitting group.

"And it doesn’t stop at the poppies - the team behind this project have spearheaded or helped oversee dozens of other things going on in the city to mark the First World War centenary.

"From November 8-10, a spectacular light show will be projected onto Ripon Cathedral - with breathtaking images of poppies and photographs of those who served in the war from Ripon.

"And that is all happening because of our winners tonight. And there are all sorts of concerts, exhibitions and art displays happening because of them.

"Our winning project tonight has been spearheaded by Stuart Martin and Hazel Barker, but this award is also for all of Ripon - every single person who has contributed in some way to the beautiful displays - from the elderly lady in a care home who has been knitting away, to the schoolchildren who have been researching the names of those listed on Ripon’s war memorial, everyone has embraced this project in the only way they know how - with Ripon’s amazing community spirit."

The Volunteering Oscars were founded by the former Mayor of the Borough of Harrogate, John Fox, whose theme for his mayoral year was volunteering. Each year, the awards are generously supported by partners and sponsors, including Harrogate and Ripon Centres for Voluntary Service (HARCVS).