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Poppy cascade to commemorate a World War One heroine

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A POPPY cascade is to be made to commemorate the death May Westwell – who is believed to be the only Warrington woman to died on active service during World War One
Miss Westwell was formerly a teacher at Evelyn Street Primary School – and the poppy cascade is being organised by St Barnabas Primary School, in Colin Street.
It is due to be completed for the May Westwell Memorial Service to be held at St Barnabas Church on October 10 at 10am.
May Westwell was the only daughter of the late Mr. W. W. Westwell and of Mrs Westwell, of Lovely-lane Warrington. Before she joined the forces, she was a teacher at Evelyn Street Primary school and was part of the congregation of St.Barnabas Church in Lovely Lane Warrington.
She joined the Queen Mary’s Auxiliary Corps to support the War effort in April 1918.
After spending some time in Belfast in an administrative post, she was transferred to the headquarters of the Irish Command in Dublin. She died tragically aged 30 on October 10, 1918 when the HMS Lenister ,the ship she was travelling on, was struck by a torpedo in the Irish sea.
Miss Westwell had decided to use her short leave to travel back to Warrington to surprise her family and friends. They were all totally unaware of her being a passenger until they received the tragic news.
The courage, bravery and valour of Miss Westwell during this terrifying event was noted by a surviving passenger.
A letter to her family at the time stated: “There was a Canadian Major who was amongst the rescued, and the first remark he made was that of all the things that impressed him most at the time, was the behaviour of the Q.M.A.A.C. on board. Their courage was magnificent. Your daughter was the one referred to as she was the only woman officer travelling and there were few women in uniform on the boat.”
Karen Longden, a teacher at St Barnabas School, said: “We are aiming to create a poppy cascade to commemorate her life using plastic bottles at the front of St. Barnabas Church on Lovely lane.  We want to promote how Miss Westwell is a positive role model to children, especially girls, within our community and by using bottles, link the project to current issue of single use plastic around the globe
“ We would like to involve as many people, community groups and schools as possible.
“Our school website, www.stbarnabasce.co.uk and twitter account @StBarnabasCeSch, both contain information about you can make a poppy for the cascade.”

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