Devon County Show’s handmade poppies go on show at Exeter Cathedral

More than 30,000 handcrafted red poppies made to mark the centenary of the First World War at the Devon County Show will go on display at Exeter Cathedral.

The exhibition opens on Monday (October 30) and runs until Tuesday, November 14.

Thousands of local people supported the ‘people’s tribute’ to the 11,500 Devon men and women who died in the Great War by creating 34,000 poppies.

The commemoration was the idea of Deborah Custance Baker, Chief Steward of the Crafts and Gardens Show feature.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone, young and old, who contributed to the display from all corners of the county.  One woman even sent me a photograph from Gran Canaria where she was knitting! 

“I hope that people realise that their individual contributions have, when gathered together, created an impressive display.  The poppies have been taken to Devon County Show, Mid Devon Show, Totnes Show and will be going to Dame Hannah, Seale Hayne, in 2018.”

The display, poignantly titled ‘Devon Remembers’, will contain the same number of poppies as the lives lost from not just Devon, but also all of the South West.

Deborah Custance Baker added: “Each poppy displayed represents a person lost, each poppy is individual, as were the people lost.  The numbers mean little until you see the scale of the display.

“I am immensely grateful to everyone who helped with the project – some people thought that getting 11,500 poppies to represent the Devon men and women lost in the First World War was a ridiculous idea. But thanks to David Fitzgerald and BBC Devon’s support, we ended up with 34,000 poppies representing those lost from Devon, Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset. 

“The stories that were sent in with some of the poppies were the most moving tribute to people’s parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and the enormity of the War was really brought home.  Some families had entire generations taken from them – and so many of those people lost were so young.”  

The poppies will be sold in aid of the Royal British Legion for a suggested minimum donation of £1 per poppy.


Photo caption: Deborah Custance Baker, Chief Steward of the Crafts and Gardens Show feature, setting up 'Devon Remembers' at the Devon County Show.

For further information contact: Anne Ashford, Devon County Show PR: 01823 490965/07971 275840 [email protected]

Notes to editors: 

  • Devon Remembers at Exeter Cathedral is open during normal visitor hours from Monday October 30 until Tuesday November 14. Cathedral admission charge apply.
  • The Devon County Show 2018 will be held on May 17-19 at Westpoint, Exeter
  • It will be the 123rd Show - the first was held in 1872
  • The Devon County is one of the South West's most iconic and enduring annual events attracting an average of 91,000 people.
  • The Show Secretary is Ollie Allen
  • The Show is an impressive rural show window which showcases award-winning livestock, the finest food and drink and rural living at its most vibrant
  • The County Show is the flagship event of the Devon County Agricultural Association (DCAA), which has played a leading role in the development of agriculture, education and the rural economy in Devon since its formation in 1872.