A PERFORMANCE inspired by the First World War has raised thousands of pounds for the Poppy Appeal.

The centenary show Hope Flowers presented by Maldon Drama Group, Maldon Orchestra and the Essex Police Choir raised more than £3,100.

The event took place at Plume Academy in Fambridge Road, Maldon.

The story, written and conceived by Neil Fisher, revolved around key events of the Great War and ten classic, powerful war poems.

Mr Fisher said: “When we announced the minute’s silence at the end of the performance, the audience spontaneously rose as one.

“The feeling I had standing in the wings, as we together remembered those poor souls, who gave so much 100 years ago, will stay with me for a very long time.

“Some members of the audience were in tears when they spoke to me afterwards and we have had an enormous amount of positive feedback since.

“I am truly humbled by the incredible amount of work and skill that all those involved put into this production and would like to simply say thank you. Special thanks go to the orchestra for the huge amount of work they put into the production.”

The 40-piece orchestra and a voice choir of 30 performed a wide range of songs including Where Did You Get That Hat, I Vow to Thee My Country and Mars from Gustav Holst’s the Planets.

The production was registered as part of the Imperial War Museum’s Centenary Partnership and used original film and photos from their vast archive at various points in the story.

The Maldon and District Sea Cadets also helped the front of house and played some small but essential roles.

Mark Head, district councillor and a Royal British Legion member, said: “It was a brilliant performance and clearly everybody enjoyed it.

“It was both funny, moving and very emotional in all the right places.

“The tone of the performance was perfect and was played to a packed Plume School hall.

“The local branch of the Royal British Legion is extremely grateful to Maldon Drama Group for all their hard work, to Maldon Town Council who assisted with the funding and to principal Carl Wakefield for providing the venue.

“I know how hard Neil Fisher and the organisers worked to bring this one-time performance to fruition.

“It was a fantastic boost to the Poppy Appeal and a collection on the door even raised another £120.

“I was standing by the exit as people were going home, there were only complimentary comments about the show.

“Congratulations to all involved and well done.”