The wedding industry, like many, has been hit hard this year due to COVID-19 and yet those working in the industry have continued to reassure couples that love is not cancelled, love will always win. Seeing all of these messages of support, it dawned on me that the war is another obvious example of a time when love was not cancelled. Whilst we are not in the midst of a world war, the world currently faces a fight of a different kind. Many lives have been taken and many livelihoods have been lost. But the war serves as a stark reminder that, no matter what happens, there are two things that can never be taken from us – love and hope.
Wanting to lift spirits and to give everyone that renewed sense of hope, I decided to organise a war-time wedding photo shoot and I reached out to wedding suppliers inviting them to create poppy themed items that could not only feature in the shoot but also be raffled off afterwards to raise money for the Poppy Appeal.
Seventeen different creative businesses took part in the photo shoot set at Quorn and Woodhouse Station, which is part of the Great Central Railway. Michael Stokes, the Events and Marketing Manager for the Great Central Railway said, “We were delighted to welcome Sally and her team for the shoot. The station played a major part in the logistics for the Second World War as the government decided, due to its location, it would be a safe place from enemy bombers. The War Ministry expanded the yard and added extra sidings for the handling of ammunition. It also became a base for the transport of the 82nd US Airborne division for their journey into the southern part of the country. Restored in its 1940’s décor, with its NAAFI café under the bridge, we felt it was an ideal location and we really enjoyed the day’s filming.”
Laura Trethowan, who herself served in the RAF from 2000-2016, modelled in the photo shoot. “I was very pleased and excited when I was asked to model in the shoot but also nervous, as I was worried about being able to do justice to the dress, shoes and many other items that had been donated. I have served in the forces, as did my father, grandparents, and great grandparents, and so I understood the concept and reflected on both my own and their experiences during the shoot. The day was incredibly fun and the professionalism of those who took part is evident in the magical photos, which are absolutely beyond expectation. I feel very lucky and privileged to have played a role in this and in helping to raise funds for this year’s Poppy Appeal.”
Mark Smith, a Community Fundraiser for The Royal British Legion, said of the photos, “These are wonderfully evocative images of a period in time that means so much to so many. The 75th Anniversaries of VE and VJ Day were sadly disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic this year and what they have done here will undoubtedly cast some people’s minds back to the end of World War 2. For those that weren’t there, however, they do create a great ‘timestamp’ of the 40’s.”
All of the items featured in the shoot are now being raffled off for the Poppy Appeal. The wedding dress, veil and wedding cake are included in one raffle and the shoes, silk poppy bouquet, jewellery, backdrops and artwork in another. Both raffles can be found here. Tickets cost £2 each and the closing date for both raffles is 13th November 2020.
Lilly Clements, also a Community Fundraiser for The Royal British Legion, said of the raffle, “We are very grateful to Sally for her very kind offer to fundraise for the Poppy Appeal. She has organised a fantastic raffle with some great prizes, which she will promote through this photo shoot. This year more than ever members of the Armed Forces have come forward seeking our help. We would like to encourage the public to get behind the Poppy Appeal and donate. Every poppy counts.”
All of my poems and quotes are protected under Copyright ©️ Sally R. Wilkes of Rhymes To Remember and are registered with The UK Copyright Service. They may not be reproduced in any form without my written permission.
The full list of individuals and businesses involved in the project is as follows:
Concept, co-ordination and poetry – Rhymes To Remember
Venue – Quorn And Woodhouse Station, Great Central Railway
Photographer – Ellen Sear
Videographers – TTS Media
Model – Laura Trethowan
Dress – Ryley And Flynn Vintage
Hair & Makeup – Adele Coxon
Veil – Sash And Veil
Cake – Lesley Walter Cake Design
Hand-lettered Fabric Banner – The Handmade Sign Company
Silk poppy bouquet – Unfauxgettable
Framed poppy painting and face masks – Inked By Hand
Silver pendant – Bish Bosh Becca
Handkerchiefs – Extra Special Touch
Poppy headpiece and brooches – Bunny Loves Evie
Poppy wash bag and face pads – Raven Gifts And Interiors
Painted shoes – Inanna Bespoke Shoes
Wooden plaque – Sophie Rebecca Art
“Love Will Always Win” supplier t-shirts – Print Spin