Crochet team add knitting skills to this year’s war effort 

Portsmouth knitters aim to turn the Guildhall into a crocheted sea of red to mark 100 years since the Armistice in the First World War.

Sarah Ferris, a community fundraiser for The Royal British Legion, and Elizabeth Caush who runs several knitting groups in Portsmouth, are co-ordinating the project, with the aim of having 5,000 poppies by the end of September.

Elizabeth Caush at a knit-in at Knight and Lee department store, Southsea Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Elizabeth Caush at a knit-in at Knight and Lee department store, Southsea Picture: Chris Moorhouse

The poppies will be displayed around the six pillars of the Guildhall, and any additional poppies will be used to make a remembrance message.

‘We’re really pleased with the response so far,’ Elizabeth, 65, said, ‘and we’re really pleased with what's come in so far. The response has been fantastic. Every poppy has been unique.’

Sarah said: ‘We have ladies knitting for us from the other side of the globe - we had a parcel of poppies arrive for us from New Zealand just the other week.’

‘The city council has been very supportive of the project, and it’s a really lovely way for people to play their part during Remembrance. We need many, many poppies to make as big an impact as possible.’

Poppies which will adorn the Cenotaph in Guildhall Square, for Remembrance Day           Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Poppies which will adorn the Cenotaph in Guildhall Square, for Remembrance Day Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Since starting in May, the knitting project has seen over 25 knitting groups take part, as well as contributions from lone knitters across the city. The Royal British Legion is providing a space to store the completed poppies. Once the remembrance decorations are taken down, the poppies will be sold to raise money for the charity, which provides support to in-need members of the armed forces and veterans.

The Royal British Legion in Portsmouth hosts a regular knitting meeting and accepts posted poppies at their office a 1 Lucknow Street, Portsmouth, PO1 1PS. The Facebook group 'The Portsmouth Poppies' is being used to provide updates and meeting times.

Stella Pearson, 57: ‘I was added into the group on Facebook in June and i just thought it was a lovely idea. I crochet like mad anyway, so I thought I’d join in. There's going to be hundreds of poppies –  maybe thousands – in the Guildhall in November, and even if you’ve only done one its nice to just be a part of it. I’ve given them a hundred poppies today.’