Weymouth Library has been taken over by a sea of red – as a dramatic memorial, commemorating fallen soldiers was unveiled on Saturday. 

The elaborate display includes a poppy adorned spitfire in the main library and a spectacular installation in the Mulberry gallery which includes a soldier, canon, cross and small horse made from thousands of handcrafted poppies. 

Co-ordinated by the Let’s Make It art group led by community development worker Julie Hursthouse, an army of more than 500 volunteers from across Dorset have been involved in the project, creating an incredible 85,000 poppies by hand. 

Joy Stanley, who has knitted more than 1,000, said it is the older generation’s duty to raise awareness of the sacrifices made in war to the younger generation. 

“What’s my time compared to their lives? It’s a pleasure to show respect to our armed forces,” she said. 

Each knitted poppy takes two hours to make and the total poppy effort has taken an incredible 350,000 volunteer hours to complete. 

Mayor of Weymouth and Portland, Kevin Brookes joined students from Budmouth College to attach poppies to the Spitfire. 

At the launch he said: “It’s an absolutely fabulous display. This is the time we remember and pay our respects and as older generations die away, it’s important for the younger generation to grow up seeing things like this as they have a big responsibility to keep it going.” 

Each one of the 85,000 poppies represents 10 soldiers who died in the First World War. 

Volunteer Moira Bellingham said: “Every time you walk round the corner and see it, it still takes you breath away.”Fellow volunteer, Val Lawson said the display was not intended to glorify the dead but the thank them. 

Jack Glynn, aged 10, who was visiting the display said: “I think it’s really good because it’s to remember all the soldiers who died in the First World War and to make it out of poppies, which were the first flowers to grow on the battlefields was a really clever idea.”

Members of the public are also able to purchase a knitted poppy which they are then able to dedicate to someone of their choosing and add to the display or pin to a giant poppy. 

Julie Hursthouse said she had received e-mails from Germany, Austria and New Zealand asking for the poppy design to create similar displays. 

“It’s gone global,” she said. 

However, Julie added, although two years in the making, this would be the last time the incredible installation goes on display.

The full display can be enjoyed in the Mulberry Gallery at Weymouth Library until December 8.