Craft group comes up with a purl of an idea to pay respects to war heroes

A wave of woollen flowers has been hand-crafted to help a community remember our war dead this Remembrance Day.

Members of the Knit and Knatter group, which meets at The Word in South Shields, began to make the knitted poppies earlier this year.

Father Chris Fuller with members of the knitting group with part of the poppy display.

Father Chris Fuller with members of the knitting group with part of the poppy display.

Now around 5,000 have been stitched in place - ready to be draped across the railings and war memorial at the nearby St Hilda’s Church.

A further display featuring 500 more flowers will go on show in The Word to tie the two locations together in their unified sign of respect to those who served.

The idea was sparked by a similar project in the region last year, with visitors to the library and event space in Market Place helping to add to the poppy pile after they were inspired to act after stopping to chat to the knitters about the work.

Joy Parker is among the members of the 30-strong group.

We were asked by the ladies from the knitting circle and we thought it was a great idea.

Father Chris Fuller

She said: “Around this time last year, on the news, I saw a lady from Thirsk who had made poppies to put around the outside of a church.

“It was up on a hill and it looked beautiful.

“I thought we could do something like it and it escalated from there.

“What has been so fantastic is that people coming into the library after our knitting group saw about four of us sowing them onto the netting and wanted to know what it was about.

The Word Knitting Groups giant poppies.
Father Chris Fuller and knitter Joy Parker

The Word Knitting Groups giant poppies. Father Chris Fuller and knitter Joy Parker

“A couple of weeks later, the same people came in and had brought their own to add, as they’d asked for the pattern and then we’d thought nothing more of it.

“We have done about three quarters of them, but the rest have been contributed.

“We’re going to start preparing the display at the church on Wednesday, November 8, all ready for the 11th and Sunday, November 12, and I think it’s going to look really great.”

The project has been backed by Farther Chris Fuller, the vicar of St Hilda’s, which will incorporate the display during its 10.30am service on November 12.

The Word Knitting Groups giant poppies.

The Word Knitting Groups giant poppies.

Fr Fuller said: “We were asked by the ladies from the knitting circle and we thought it was a great idea.

“It’s really taken off.

“It looks absolutely fabulous.

“We have quite a modest ceremony and go outside and observe a two minute silence and say the appropriate prayers at the memorial where there is a natural pause in our service.”

The knitting group meets at The Word on Mondays from 10am to 11.30am.