A POIGNANT display of courageous war heroes embarking on the beach has been created to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

St Oswald’s Church in Lower Peover is commemorating the largest seaborne invasion in history with a series of special events.

US Generals Dwight Eisenhower and George Patten met in the village to discuss plans for D-Day over lunch at The Bells of Peover.

READ > Knutsford Porsche driver clocked speeding hit with £200 court penalty

Knutsford Guardian: Villagers have painstakingly made soldiers out of wood and straw to depict the historic D-Day invasionVillagers have painstakingly made soldiers out of wood and straw to depict the historic D-Day invasion (Image: Maria Filippidi)

It is widely rumoured that Prime Minister Winston Churchill may also have been present though this has never been officially documented.

The stunning display captures the start of the most ambitious military campaign ever mounted when 156,000 allied troops joined forces by sea and air on five beachheads in Normandy.

Their bravery would ultimately liberate Western Europe, defeat Nazi Germany and end the Second World War.

Villagers Sally Aspen and Elspeth Turner painstakingly handmade each soldier to bring the momentous invasion to life.

Knutsford Guardian: Villagers painstakingly handmade soldiers to make them look aliveVillagers painstakingly handmade soldiers to make them look alive (Image: Supplied)

Sally said: “We made 20 scarecrows out of wood and straw and a full-size landing craft.

“It took six weeks to make them all and 10 hours to put them up.

“We wanted it to be absolutely correct to make them look alive.

Knutsford Guardian: Every effort has been made to make the display 'absolutely authentic'Every effort has been made to make the display 'absolutely authentic' (Image: Supplied)

“They had to be vertical so it looks as though they are moving, with their legs behind them and heels lifting.

“We had to be so careful as we wanted them to be holding a gun as it should be held.”

Knutsford Guardian: It took 10 hours to set up the displayIt took 10 hours to set up the display (Image: Supplied)

The soldiers are dressed in recycled clothing.

Two naval gunners have now been added to the back of the landing craft.

Sally said: “It is absolutely authentic, exactly as they were.

“People have said it is very poignant.

“Hundreds of people have been through the church exhibition.

“It is beyond belief. There is a beach under the altar, it is unbelievable.

“It has all been done by a small committee.”

Event organisers have been overwhelmed by the support they have received from the local community.

“We appealed for people to knit poppies and supplied patterns,” said Sally.

“Over 200 poppies came through my front door. Everyone in the village has got involved, it is a community thing.”

The church display includes information about a secret factory at Plumley where aviation fuel was made.

The Cranage airbase, Home Guard and Shakerley Wood, Toft Hall Prisoner of War camp and parachute training at Tatton Park are also featured in the exhibition.

An evening of readings and music will be held at 7pm on Thursday, June 6.

Villagers who participated in the Battle of Normandy, including Ray Shickle who landed on D-Day, will talk about their experiences.

To reserve a seat, free tickets are available from Roger Turner on 07900 343078 or George Dutton on 07968 798928.

A limited number of seats will be available on a first come first served basis for those without tickets.

A beacon will be lit at 9.15pm.