‘It’s a community project, by the community, for the people’ - Ripon's Poppy Project Remembrance Day tribute shines on through its unique legacy
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The poppies, which will adorn benchmark areas in Ripon city centre, were created by community members Hazel Barker, Stuart Martin and Carol Dunkley, and an impressive team of 30 volunteers.
The project team have erected, repaired and customised individual murals, which has helped to put the city on the map.
While Remembrance Day was the original event, the knitters have been involved with a variety of the city’s calendar celebrations.
The project, which began in 2018, will mark its fifth year in 2023 and during that time it has attracted thousands of visitors each year.
Mrs Barker said: “We meet up about 9.30am but I’m ready to go by 7am.
“We’ve been so busy with other things this year, but we’ve had to remodel and take off any that faded. It’s been non-stop.
“We’ve done the bike race, a car project, the jubilee and the king's coronation, some of the pieces have gone off to Africa.
“We’ve had some generous donations from local trade but it’s predominantly self-funded.
“It's been like clock-work this year, but we are now already on with our D-Day display six months in advance.
“Jenny-Ruth Workshops have been on with some new wooden structures to put out.
“It’s a community project, by the community, for the people.”
A concert which will take place on Saturday, November 9, at the cathedral will include the Dishforth Military Wives Choir, Ripon City Band and Brackenfield School - a children's choir.
Mrs Barker said: “The concert is essential to fund our future projects.
“It pays for the insurance, the materials and the volunteers who work very hard.
“There’s a lot of emotion within it, Ripon’s military history runs deep.”
The project swiftly reached the hearts of residents and helped the community to heal an open wound felt by the traumas of the First World War.
While the unique collaboration has changed the face of street art, the city - which previously suffered from a longtime lack of footfall - has strengthened the union between community spirit and local trade.
The project's legacy has continued to shine on the city’s unique reputation and has recently earned Ripon the title of “the forgotten city of the north” by national publication, The Telegraph.
Mrs Barker said: “Our latest project for D-Day is being kept a big secret, so I can’t tell you much.
“All I can say is the new project is our biggest yet.
“It depicts the D-Day landings.
“It's the 75th anniversary of the Royal Engineers that are based in Ripon, when they were given ‘Freedom of the City’.
“There will be lots of other things happening that I can't say right now.
“We are very excited as what we are attempting is huge.”
Tickets are available for the concert at Stuff For Offices and Wakemans Cafe.