Tribute at Birmingham Hospital honors veterans with poppy and life size horse display

The centerpiece of the display is a life-size wooden horse surrounded by a field of 1,000 crocheted and knitted red poppies. Credit: Royal Orthopaedic Hospital

The Royal Orthopaedic Hospital has unveiled a display featuring 1,000 red poppies and a life-size wooden horse to honour veterans and commemorate Remembrance Week.

The installation, which also includes white poppies and doves as symbols of remembrance and peace, has been crafted by the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust's Knit and Natter group.The centerpiece of the display is a life-size wooden horse surrounded by a field of 1,000 crocheted and knitted red poppies.

The inclusion of the wooden horse is to serve as a reminder of the significant role horses played in wartime efforts.

Credit: Royal Orthopaedic Hospital

Di Olalla, a dedicated member of the Knit and Natter group, shared insights into the inspiration behind the display, stating, "We had the idea for the field of poppies after seeing another display, but we wanted to include something to commemorate horses in the service of war too.

"Thank you so much to all the patients, volunteers, and staff who contributed to the project; this really was a group effort, and it's great to see so many people come together to help us commemorate Remembrance Week."Representatives from the War Horse Memorial joined to view the installation and share remembrance stories.

Credit: Royal Orthopaedic Hospital

Carl Measey is a Health and Safety Advisor at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital and served in the Royal Navy as a Petty Officer 1987-2010. He said: “After transitioning back to civilian life after 23 years’ service in the Armed Forces, I and what many others miss the most is that unique and magical ‘esprit de corps’ (a sense of mutual pride and shared loyalties).  Many civilian occupations are not able to come close to replicating or emulating these feelings - this sense of ‘worth’, but working at the ROH comes as close as any civilian employer could possibly hope to do. 

“At the ROH we have a strong and rare bond - we work closely together as a team, often in challenging circumstances. We have a great culture of supporting one another, bringing all our individual skills and experiences to the front line. 

"And every day we see the amazing results: delivering fantastic care and life changing positive outcomes for our patients, not to mention their relatives and friends.  Giving us all working at the ROH a shared sense of pride, shared loyalties and values - bringing out the very best in us all.”

Crocheted and knitted purple poppies are also featured in the display, helping to raise awareness for the Animal Purple Poppy Fund and recognise the sacrifice of animals drafted into the war effort.

Susan Osborne, co-Founder of the War Horse Memorial, said: “Over countless wars, but particularly the two World Wars, tens of thousands of animals lost their lives to allow us to enjoy the freedom and democracy we enjoy today.

"Dogs were sent into the trenches carrying messages between soldiers, cats were sent to kill the rats, horses were used to pull heavy artillery guns and donkeys worked the mines to keep the war effort productive.

"When food ran out thousands died of starvation and when the conflict was over hardly any came home. We can never repay them for their service.”

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