"In Flanders fields the poppies blow, between the crosses, row on row, that mark our place; and in the sky the larks, still bravely singing, fly scarce heard amid the guns below."

Powerful words from the poem written by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae in 1915, and words we still hear today as we remember those who gave their lives for their country.

The poppy serves as symbol of remembrance to all of those who have lost their lives serving their country in the past and to the present day, and on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, which marks the end of World War One, we fall silent to remember the fallen.

Many Hounslow residents may have seen thousands of giant poppies springing up along the streets of the borough, marking this year's Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.

It's an idea which sparked inside the mind of volunteer Mike Foston.

In 2016 Mike made hundreds of poppies and wrapped them around some of the lampposts in the borough in a bid to ensure we never forget our fallen heroes.

This year, however, his idea was much bigger, he wanted thousands of poppies to connect a number of the war memorials across the borough.

Thousands of poppies have sprung up across Hounslow

Through generous donations to his fundraising page, £250 from Tesco Feltham Dukes Green and £4,500 from Hounslow Highways, this idea has been made a reality as thousands of poppies were purchased from the Royal British Legion.

Councillor Sue Sampson, the Mayor of Hounslow, first saw Mike's fundraising campaign online; he was looking to raise £3,000 to purchase 1,000 poppies, but she realised he needed support.

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Speaking to getwestlondon, Cllr Sampson said: "I thought, it's such a fantastic initiative and this really needed to be rolled out across the borough, so that's when I started to have conversations and that's when I spoke to Hounslow Highways, who very kindly offered to sponsor the remainder of the poppies to go throughout the borough.

"They create a poppy path linking all of the 10 war memorials throughout the borough from Chiswick through to Feltham , from Heston through to Isleworth ."

Andre McGill, Royal British Legion Hounslow branch chairman and poppy organiser, Mohammad Saj, Lead Fresh Manager, Tesco Dukes Green, Michelle Dent, Borough Champion for Hounslow, Tesco Dukes Green, Councillor Sue Sampson, Mayor of Hounslow, Martin Clack, Divisional Director, Hounslow Highways and Mike Foston, Feltham community

She added: "What I found when we were putting these poppies up late at night on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, all of us, the amount of people that were just passing by.

"When you explain to them what the story is, they say 'right, I can spare half an hour, I can spare an hour', and the amount of people that got involved that some of us had never even met.

"It's fascinating, it's brought the community together, a real community spirit."

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She continued: "As we get closer to the annual services held every November to remember the brave men and women of our armed forces, it is wonderful to see the poppies as a vibrant reminder of the ultimate sacrifices they made."

The Mayor along with Andre McGill, chairman of the Hounslow branch of the Royal British Legion, co-ordinated a team of volunteers to help with putting the poppies up, an army of people spending hours of their free time pounding the pavements.

Mike Foston and Paul Blount from the Royal British Legion make their way down Staines Road armed with poppies

Mike, along with community volunteers, the Royal British Legion, councillors and the Mayor of Hounslow, were all out tightening the poppy cable ties to ensure Hounslow shows respect.

Some of the poppies contain the names of fallen heroes from the area, names which have been taken from the memorials and printed out onto more than 400 of the poppies.

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We followed Mike and parade marshal for Bedfont Royal British Legion, Paul Blount, as they travelled along Staines Road with the mission of ensuring every lamppost was decorated with a poppy.

An army of people have been fixing the poppies to lampposts

Mike explained what it means to him: "My generation needs to remember the people that have gone, more importantly we need the children, the young people now to realise why we do this and what the poppies mean."

He added: "To me it doesn't just represent World War One and World War Two, it represents anyone who's fighting for the freedom of others to the current day."

The Mayor of Hounslow hopes this initiative can grow year on year, and Mike hopes his idea can eventually grow to cover the whole of London.

After Remembrance Sunday on November 12, the poppies will be taken down and stored free of charge by Hounslow Highways, ready to come out again in 2018.

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