From Rosalind Groves, Ryde:

Although we keep hearing about — and experiencing — cuts in the Isle of Wight Council’s budget, here in Ryde we are extremely fortunate we still have our library, with everything the expert, welcoming and hard-working staff provide for us there.

I want to make sure as many people as possible are aware of the excellent First World War Poppy Exhibition there (on until next Friday, November 16). It is thorough and well presented in every way; but for me the most striking part was the hundreds of paper poppies displayed around the walls and shelves, each one with the name and age of a soldier (most in their twenties or even teens), who fought and was killed during that war.

There is one poppy for each soldier who died from the Ryde area — more than 600 young men.

It is easy to read a number like that and pass over it quickly, without visualising any details behind each individual experience. But I found seeing each one, named and with a few family details provided in the folders, made a big impact: an emotional insight into the tragedy and waste of so many young people living and dying in those circumstances, as well as the lifelong grief of their families.

It made me think that, yes, we moan about Brexit and parking and taxes and prices (understandably); but at least most of us in Ryde are not living with the fear and dread of hearing our children have been killed on a battlefield in France.

Thank you to Ryde Library for giving me that perspective.

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