Meet some of the devoted poppy makers of Ripon: city embraces project to mark First World War centenary

Joyce and Sylvia knitting away at the Moors Care Centre.
Joyce and Sylvia knitting away at the Moors Care Centre.

When the people of Ripon decide to embrace something, they really do embrace it.

It’s only been a matter of weeks since the appeal was put out there for residents to knit poppies and be part of a city-wide project marking the centenary of the end of the First World War - but the response so far has been totally overwhelming.

In an extraordinary whole-community effort, hundreds of poppies have been knitted to create an ‘avenue of poppies’ lining the route from Ripon Spa Gardens to the Cathedral as part of the city’s Remembrance commemorations this year.

Regular knitting and crochet sessions are being held at venues including Ripon Library, the Sun Parlour Cafe, Borrage House care home, and the Moors Care Centre.

It’s really bringing the community together in a big way, and the efforts of everyone involved will form an unforgettable visual centrepiece for Remembrance.

The ‘Gazette spoke to some of our city’s dedicated poppy makers at the Moors Care Centre on Monday afternoon, who were all busily knitting away. The residents there are making poppies in their hundreds. The centre's activities Sally Alcock, praised the incredible efforts of everyone there.

She said: “It’s amazing how everyone has thrown themselves into this and got involved. They’re all really enjoying it - someone told me it’s like having the old community back, the feeling of community like what they had in the war. This is definitely bringing the community closer together.”

Residents Joyce Knight and Sylvia Broad have been totally dedicated to the project from day one. They said it has been a joy to be part of it. Busily knitting away, Joan Benson said: “I am very proud of Ripon city, it’s nice that we celebrate these occasions.”

Elsewhere, Gloria Sturdy has knitted and crocheted over 240 poppies. Gloria runs a breakfast club at Holy Trinity Church and is keen to help or teach residents to make the poppies.

She said anyone is welcome at Holy Trinity Arches on a Tuesday at 9.30am during term time.

Project coordinators Stuart Martin and Sarah O’Connell have been blown away by the huge support of the poppies project. They have set up a Facebook page, Ripon Community Poppy Project, to keep people updated.

Collection points for the poppies include the Sun Parlour Cafe, Stuff For Offices, Big Bites, Borrage House and the town hall. The‘Gazette will feature more of the poppy makers of Ripon in future editions.

Photos taken by the 'Gazette of the Moors Care Centre's poppy makers will appear in this week's newspaper.