A wall-to- wall Curtain of Poppies, featuring 79,300 knitted, crochet and felt poppies, took centre stage at this year's Wonderwool Wales, drawing comments of "breath-taking"; "amazing"; "inspirational"; "a marvellous tribute."
The curtain brought together contributions from knitters and fibre fans from all over the UK and abroad. It formed a colourful highlight of the showcase of Welsh wool and natural fibres at the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells, Powys on April 28 and 29. It's a show which draws thousands of visitors to see and buy a range of wonderful products, some brought direct from the farm gate, and where they can also view and learn techniques for making their own beautiful felted, knitted and hand-made creations.
The show's Curtain of Poppies caught the imagination of today's community of knitters and fibre fans and encouraged them to recreate the united determination of the women at home during World War 1, who "did their bit" to support the troops overseas by knitting gloves, scarves, balaclavas and socks.
Individuals contributed everything from one poppy to more than a hundred, some sending them in memory of named members of their own family who died in the Great War. A serving soldier sent a single, embroidered felt poppy, saying she had never made anything else by hand in her whole life. One contributor knitted poppies in memory of her grandfather and sent in 100 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the War. Schools, Knit and Natter groups, WIs, craft groups and even whole communities got involved. St Bernard's Primary School, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire invited parents to come into school and sew a poppy with their children, giving each child the name of a soldier from the town who died during WW1. Among the largest number donated by one group were 3446 from pupils from Porthcawl Comprehensive. Other group efforts included Y Fenni Rangers; Powys Radnor Federation of WIs; the Afternoon WI Group, Abergavenny; the community of Llanfyllin, Powys who made 558; the community of Ludlow who sent in 2500 ....and the list goes on.
Curtain of Poppies organisers, mother and daughter Olwen and Jane Veevers were delighted by the response. Said Olwen: "We would like to thank everyone who has contributed. Poppies have piled in from all over the UK and even from Europe and North America, often accompanied by cards, photos and notes explaining contributors' reasons for getting involved. It's been truly amazing."
After its debut at Wonderwool Wales, A Curtain of Poppies was taken straight to Powys County Council County Hall where it will remain on display during May. It will then be exhibited at the National Wool Museum of Wales from May 26 until the end of June. It will be on display at the Gower Heritage Centre during July and August, the Newtown Textile Museum during September and next year (2019) it has been offered a permanent home at the Gower Heritage Centre.
We invite donations in support of this project for the Royal British Legion.
For enquires please contact Jane: woolschool(at)wonderwoolwales.co.uk
For more information about the Powys War Memorial Project, contact Nathan Davies, Powys War Memorials Project Officer by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 07973 973 687.
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