Guest blog: Blood swept lands & seas of red. And Bondholders.

The following guest blog has been written by Richard Pettinger from Bondholder Black Apricot on his recent visit to the launch of Seas of Red 2014.

"So, today is not going to be an average sort of day; not that working in the creative industry here in Derby is ever what you would call ‘humdrum’, but this particular day is going to be special.

This lunchtime my colleague, Sach Parmar, and I are setting off for London in preparation for the official launch reception of Seas of Red 2014, the truly epic and inspiring installation at the Tower of London, created by Marketing Derby Bondholder and Derby University Alumnus, Paul Cummins.

I am not known for my restrained, laid back approach to things like this, but I think I can say that my child-like over-excitement at today’s event is fully justified; a handful of Royals, political leaders and no fewer than 20 Heads of State have all played their part today, witnessing the official unveiling of the Tower Poppies, ‘planted’ in the dry moat around the Tower itself, to honour the Fallen of the First World War.

Tonight, we rubbed shoulders with lots of celebrities and senior members of the Tower of London team, all of whom could not be more impressed with Paul Cummins and his committed Derby team, and luxuriated in an event so full of pageantry, tradition and potent symbolism, that it was impossible not to be truly moved.

It is also difficult to adequately convey the scale of the visual impact that this installation will have,(indeed, already has…) nor the almost superhuman effort that it has taken to realise it. Over 140,000 handcrafted, unique, individual ceramic flowers already adorn the Tower’s moat, pouring out of windows and flowing like a sea around the walls.

And by its close in November, 886,246 poppies – let me say that again – 886,246 hand made poppies will have been, created, fired twice, painted and packed here in Derby, and shipped to the capital, to be installed in the moat by an army of volunteers.

Consider, if a single volunteer planted 200 poppies a day, they wouldn’t finish until well into the year 2026…

Please, even if you seldom venture south, consider a trip to see the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation.

I mentioned that today is not going to be normal for me. There, are however a few elements that will be; the key amongst these will be the enormous impact that the role of Marketing Derby Bondholders has on my working day, and that of each and every one within the City. It is easy to overlook this, but consider –

Today, after breakfast at Bean Caffe, and a morning working at Friar Gate Studios, Sach and I will board an East Midlands train for our journey to London, where I’ll meet Paul and his business advisor Philippa Bowen of Business Ignition Group, who has assembled an array of supporting businesses to deliver this project. Not one area of this journey will be untouched by a Marketing Derby Bondholder. Let me list them in the order they assist or interact with me today; apologies for any I’ve missed.

  • Geldards
  • Bean Caffe
  • Derby City Council
  • East Midlands Trains
  • University of Derby
  • Paul Cummins Ceramics
  • Business Ignition Group
  • Cactus Images
  • Franklands
  • Dains
  • Opus Telecom
  • Swindell & Pearson

No, today is not a normal day. But in terms of the how much the 200+ Marketing Derby Bondholders support, inspire, assist and promote the City and its inhabitants to the world, it’s very much ‘Business As Usual’."