SOUTH Essex is gearing up to host an iconic sculpture commemorating those who have lost their lives in conflicts...with more than 250 volunteers signed up to make it a success.
Thousands of visitors are expected to attend Shoebury’s Barge Pier when the celebrated sculpture Poppies: Wave, by artist Paul Cummins and designer Tom Piper, is unveiled on Wednesday, April 12 as part of its nationwide tour.
Volunteers - dubbed ‘wave makers’ - will welcome visitors.
As its launch approaches, Southend Council has delivered promotional leaflets to households across the borough.
The sculpture will remain in place until Sunday, June 25.
Ann Holland, councillor responsible for culture, tourism and the economy, said: “Southend Council and 14-18 NOW are looking forward to presenting Poppies: Wave at Barge Pier, Gunners Park, Shoebury which will start being built at the end of March before opening to the public on April 12.
“In anticipation of the sculpture coming to Southend, we have established a dedicated section to the popular Visit Southend website at visitsouthend.co.uk/poppies, which contains everything you need to know about visiting the Barge Pier.
“Members of the public can also keep their eye out for Poppies: Wave leaflets and posters, providing further details on the sculpture.”
It is not too late to volunteer, with anyone interested urged to apply by visiting southend.gov.uk/poppies.
Ms Holland added: “So far, more than 250 people have committed to volunteering to be Wave Makers, who will welcome visitors to the sculpture and help create a memorable and contemplative experience. However, it’s not too late to express an interest.
“In particular, we are looking to hear from people are free to host shifts between 4pm and 7pm.”
Peter Grubb, owner of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, in Shoebury, has been given promotional material to hand out to customers.
He said: “There are over 3,000 parking spaces at East Beach and Shoebury Common. It’s all about reaching the destination in a timely manor - avoiding the Victoria Avenue and central Southend traffic jams.
“The council will be erecting road signs to direct poppies traffic around Priory Park way past Waitrose then down Thorpe Hall Avenue to Shoebury Common.”
Barge Pier was selected by organisers of the tour for its military history as part of Sheobury Garrison.
Wave and Weeping Window are being displayed across the country and memorably drew thousands of visitors to the Tower of London last year.
The tour aims to prompt a new, nationwide dialogue around the legacy of the First World War.