How a church put together a staggering 17,000 poppies for First World War tribute

From left, Sally Kelly, Sue Palmer, Pat Beresford, Sylvia Philips, Kerry Jarman, Jan Grealish and Carol Carter. Picture: Neil Pugmire
From left, Sally Kelly, Sue Palmer, Pat Beresford, Sylvia Philips, Kerry Jarman, Jan Grealish and Carol Carter. Picture: Neil Pugmire
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THOUSANDS of handmade poppies will be going up on display at a church in Hayling Island, paying tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice during the First World War.

The poppies, crafted and turned into a spectacular piece of art, will cascade from St Peter’s Church in Northney, Hayling Island, next month.

More than 17,000 poppies have been created ahead of the tribute’s unveiling on Sunday, October 7, as part of the First World War commemorations.

Coleen Jackson, churchwarden at St Peter’s Church, said: ‘We were only planning to use around 6,000 poppies, but this has really taken off, and engaged the whole of the island.

‘More than 1,000 leaflets were circulated around the island and within days handcrafted poppies came flooding in. At one point the local wool shop ran out of wool.

‘Some have been knitted, some crocheted, and some carved out of a branch that fell off a yew tree in our grounds.’

The poppies have mainly been made by people on Hayling Island, but have also come from friends around the globe.

Islanders have been knitting, crocheting and carving poppies for months as part of the project. The idea came Alyson Griffin, from the Northney Textile Crafts Group, who saw a cascade of knitted poppies hanging from a church in Scotland.

Alongside it will be an exhibition put together by Hayling’s University of the Third Age, which will highlight life on the island during the conflict.

Members of the Northney Textile Crafts Group have co-ordinated the creation of the poppy tribute, sewing thousands of poppies onto large areas of netting that will be hung from the scaffolding.

One of the group, Carol Carter, said: ‘We are also sewing dedications to individual soldiers onto four panels. Some of those have come from the families of those who died, so it is quite emotional to read them.’

The tribute will remain in place for the next six weeks until Remembrance Sunday and is available for viewing between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday.

School groups can also visit on request.