WW1 Commemoration and Poppies Red and Cornflowers Blue Production


Town Hall, Shaftesbury, Dorset, SP7 8LY

FROM:                 The Town Clerk, Mrs Claire Commons

ISSUED:              19th October 2018

This November sees the commemoration of the end of the First World War. The Town Council has transformed its display cabinets in the Council Chamber to remember the impact of this global event locally. Come in and have a look and read some fascinating letters and news articles.

The town hall balcony, with sandbags for a trench feel, has been draped with poppies and proudly sports a union flag. A soldier silhouette will make his appearance on the balcony nearer to armistice day.

Shaftesbury Town Council proudly presents the final performance of Poppies Red Cornflowers Blue. Bringing communities old and young together and telling the story of the war from beginning to end.

Dorset musician John Anderson has written and composed a very well-received musical production for his band Poacher’s Moon, which has been touring the South of England from 2014 to 2018. The final performance for the centenary will be hosted by Shaftesbury Town Council in St Peter’s Church, Shaftesbury on Saturday 10th November at 7:30pm. Profits from this performance wi

ll go to the Rifles Benevolent Trust. The Rifles 1st Battalion were established as an amalgamation of the Devon and Dorset Regiments and were given the freedom of Shaftesbury Town in 2010.

This unique production is entitled ‘Poppies Red and Cornflowers Blue’ and has toured through Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire for the past four years. Audiences have been intrigued, moved and thoroughly appreciative. ‘Poppies Red and Cornflowers Blue’ tells the true stories in song and narrative of people from Dorset who lived ordinary lives until the Great War changed everything. There are songs about recruitment, women left behind, life in the trenches and the stories of the young men; some of whom returned home and thousands of whom stayed behind forever in those stained fields. To the venues Poacher’s Moon bring five skilled musicians; between them they play six, twelve and tenor guitars, keyboard, flute, fiddle and percussion. The musicians are John and Caroline Anderson, Ray Tower and Louise Anderson, with fellow musician and narrator ‘soldier’ Pete Coley. The show is accompanied by narrative and beautiful projected images with chorus lyrics to enable the audience to join in. The performance is moving, uplifting and sensitively written with elements of humour.

If you would like to see some testimonies of the show, please visit the website www.poachersmoon.com. Songs from the show featured in the BBC World War One at Home Roadshow in the summer of 2015 at Weymouth. The musician Johnny Coppin has recorded ‘Dream of England’ and it has enjoyed airplay on BBC Radio2, Radio Gloucester, Forest FM, and Abbey 104, with Poacher’s Moon playing live on BBC Solent Radio. John’s songs have also been included on the BBC One television programme ‘Inside Out’.

‘Poppies Red and Cornflowers Blue’ is suitable for those aged over ten years of age, especially those wanting to commemorate this important occasion in some way, and for those with an interest in history and storytelling. Folk music has played a huge part of our heritage and culture and the stories of our past have always been passed on through generations in song.

The Shaftesbury Evening WI have kindly arranged to make home-made cakes and serve teas and coffees during the evening. Tickets are available to buy from The Town Hall, or can be reserved by ringing 01747 852420, costing £9 or £8 for concessions, They will also be available on the door. Any enquiries should be sent to enquiries@shaftesbury-tc.gov.uk.  The evening will end with a roll call of the soldiers from Shaftesbury who lost their lives fighting for our country. All are welcome to come along and join in with this special performance.


 For further information contact Shaftesbury Town Council, Tel: 01747 852420 or email: enquiries@shaftesbury-tc.gov.uk