Care home resident who lived through Second World War knits almost 80 poppies with friends for Waterlooville church

Phyllis, who lives in Horndean, learned to knit when she was five and hasn't stopped since
Phyllis, who lives in Horndean, learned to knit when she was five and hasn't stopped since

A KEEN knitter who worked in a torpedo factory during the Second World War has knitted 77 poppies with fellow care home residents for a display at a Waterlooville church. 

Phyllis, an 89-year-old living at Pear Tree Court in Horndean, stepped up to the challenge after seeing a call out for the 7,000 poppies wanted for Sacred Heart Church’s Remembrance Day commemorations.

The great-grandmother learned how to knit when she was five and wanted to play her part in marking 100 years since the end of the First World War.

She said: ‘When I saw the advert asking for people to send poppies to celebrate the Remembrance Day centenary, I gathered some fellow residents who enjoy knitting too, and we got busy knitting.

‘I have been to see the fantastic poppies on display this week in the church, and it was very moving.

‘I have lots of grandchildren and great grandchildren. One of my great-granddaughters was born this week, so I usually knit baby clothes, either for them or for the neonatal unit at Queen Alexandra Hospital.’

Phyllis was born in Dorchester in 1929 and since she learned how to knit, has created an array of clothes for local shops, including shawls and baby clothes.

She was married to her husband Peter for 36 years and has four children, 13 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Ray Arnold, home manager at Pear Tree Court, said: ‘Phyllis is an important part of life here at Pear Tree Court.

The team has been blown away by her talent and we are very proud of her creations.

‘Knitting poppies was a fantastic way for her to take part in the Remembrance Day activities, and also reminded her of happy memories from her younger years when her grandmother taught her how to knit.

‘Arts and crafts and other creative projects can have many therapeutic benefits for older people, especially for those living with dementia, by keeping their minds busy and giving them a sense of purpose.

‘This time of year is especially significant for many of the residents, as many of them lived through war.’