A BREATHTAKING cascade of poppies has been unveiled at St Barnabas Church in Bewsey to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War and to commemorate the heroic efforts by a Warrington woman.

May Westwell joined the Queen Mary's Auxiliary Corps to support the war efforts in April 1918.

The former teacher at Evelyn Street Primary School, who was part of the St Barnabas Church congregation, spent time in Belfast in an administrative post before she was transferred to the headquarters of the Irish Command in Dublin.

However, just six months after joining, May was killed at the young age of 30 on October 10.

She was travelling on HMS Lenister in the Irish sea when it was torpedoed.

May had decided to use her short leave to travel back to Warrington to surprise her family and friends.

They were unaware that she was a passenger until they received the tragic news.

Her courage during this terrifying event was noted by a surviving passenger.

He said: "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."

Pupils and staff at St Barnabas CE Primary School called on the public to help create the poppy installation out of recycled plastic bottles.

The school asked members of the community and as many other primary schools as possible to send poppies to feature on the cascade.

The May Westwell Memorial Service took place at the church on October 10. Pupils from various primary schools across the borough attended the service in addition to the mayor of Warrington Cllr Karen Mundry.

The poppies are on display at the front of St Barnabas Church on Lovely Lane.