The weekend of 12-13 May saw the start of one of the UK’s biggest ‘open churches’ festivals take place, with community groups in Caistor and the surrounding district — including Caistor Cares — invited to make displays and sculptures to help commemorate the end of WW1 and celebrate 100 years of the Royal Air Force.
West Lindsey is an area with a rich aviation heritage and a strong association with the RAF, and churches across the region were filled with poems and photographs capturing insights and stories of remembrance from the past century.
With around 50 churches open over the two weekends of the festival, the event was made possible by more than 700 volunteers across the region. In Caistor, volunteer Pat Harris asked all societies and groups in the town to contribute displays that would feature in the church of St. Peter and St. Paul. The impressive exhibition that resulted celebrated many residents’ recollections about their relatives’ experiences of the Great War and the RAF.
Volunteers from Caistor Cares also wanted to contribute a display and the idea of a sculpture incorporating floating poppies was raised at the weekly drop-in coffee mornings that take place in the Drakes Court building every Monday. Volunteer Terry Box provided a Sopwith Camel model bi-plane for the display, while Bob Oxley built a stand to house this famous British First World War single-seat fighter aircraft . The display was decorated with an array of poppies by Julia Whittaker, sourced from the Royal British Legion by organiser Pat Harris.
“We were delighted to contribute our little display to the church of St. Peter and St. Paul as part of the open churches festival,” said Caistor Cares coordinator Julia Whittaker. “Caistor Cares is a voluntary organisation, offering friendship and support to people over the age of 60 in Caistor and the surrounding district, and it was a great joint effort by volunteers to produce our own display. We were pleased that it featured alongside so many other interesting stories, photos and recollections from the past 100 years and helped raise donations for the Royal British Legion.”
If you missed the chance to visit the festival, many of the exhibits that featured in Caistor’s church of St. Peter and St. Paul will be displayed in the town’s Heritage Centre in a separate exhibition in November, to mark the end of WW1