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POPPY APPEAL: Traditional symbol is wearing well in the fashion stakes
SPARKLY, enamelled, knitted or just plain traditional, Royal British Legion poppies are available in many fashionable forms across the county this year – and you can even grow your own.
The first British remembrance poppies were made from paper by wounded war veterans in the Old Kent Road, London, sold for a penny and pinned to lapels to express gratitude to those who had given their life in the Great War of 1914-18.
Since then poppies have evolved and have been given a ‘designer’ touch, with jewel-encrusted Buckley versions seen adorning everyone from the Duchess of Cambridge to X-Factor judges.
East Hendred great-grandmother Monica Stoter, 80, uses wool to create her poppies and this year is getting orders via Facebook.
She explained: “My neighbour Val Prior asked me to start knitting poppies a few years ago and as my father and father-in-law served in the war I was glad to oblige. I love knitting and they do look very pretty.”
Last year Mrs Soter and fellow East Hendred knitters sold their quirky blooms in East Hendred’s Village Store and raised £500.
She said: “I’ve so far knitted just over 100 poppies since the end of September and I’ll keep going while they are in demand.
“My son Neil who lives in Redditch put a picture of them on his Facebook page and I’m now getting orders from his friends and neighbours.”
Val Prior, who is also part of the East Hendred Poppy Knitters, has made poppies of felt this year.
She explained: “I have recently opened a charity shop in Didcot called Changing Lives and whilst most of my efforts are being channelled into that, I am still cutting out poppies from felt and making them for sale.”
If you like your poppies to have a little more ‘bling’ Marks & Spencer are selling a diamante encrusted Poppy brooch in two sizes at £25 and £15, as well as a poppy-themed bracelet at £9.50, and stud pin at £5.
Last year the brooch raised £1.6m for the Royal British Legion and once more 30 per cent of money made from the jewellery will be donated to help fund vital services.
Laura Laffan, community fundraiser for the legion in Oxfordshire, urged people to wear a poppy with pride in whatever form they prefer.
She said: “The legion offers a wide variety of ways that you can show your support for our Armed Forces.”