My time as a Poppy Partner, Lesley Mackie

P P Blog L Mackie

Lesley with the Poppies: Weeping Window sculpture

Ever since I discovered that three of my Great Uncles had lost their lives on the battlefields of WW1, I’ve been very interested in that horrific war and the effect it had on the nation. Having compiled and performed in Lest We Forget at St John’s Church back in November 2014, I’ve tried to stay connected with local and nationwide events focusing on the war, events which will continue until the commemorations come to a close in November 2018.

I was delighted to hear that the Weeping Window was coming to The Black Watch Castle and Museum, and put my name down as a potential volunteer. Although everyone expected it to be a lovely display, bringing more visitors to the museum, the vast numbers that have come has been a revelation to everyone involved. It’s very touching to see people of all ages and with varying levels of mobility arrive in all weathers and get so much out of walking round the installation and reflecting on the lives lost.

I’ve met many interesting people on my different shifts, and if the group of volunteers rotate from one position to the next – from HQ to the car park, to the installation and to the museum itself – the time tends to fly. It’s great to observe the excitement of a visitor who has suddenly found the name of a relative in the Memorial Room.

The Memorial Wall of Crosses in the grounds is an added feature, and at 11am on each day of the Centenary a short service is held, and a cross hung on the wall for every Black Watch soldier who died on that day, which is very moving. On some days there are many names to call out and many crosses to place. I hope to attend all three of the services when my own family names will be included.

Although the Poppy Partners have been run off their feet since the display opened, I think we will all be sorry to lose the Weeping Window when it is de-installed at the end of September – we’ve begun to feel that it belongs to us.

Lesley Mackie, Poppy Partner


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