SCHOOLCHILDREN and creative villagers have joined forces to create an impressive poppy wall hanging for a church — even international flowers have been contributed.

Princetown residents, Mount Kelly College students, Princetown Primary School children and the village WI have come together to knit, crochet, carve, paint and cut Remembrance poppies for a hanging to adorn the gates of Princetown Church.

The hub of the work happens with the nimble fingers of the Craft and Chatter Group which have been busy each week for about a year in the Methodist Chapel and also in the library on the same day.

They have been so successful in inspiring others to join in, that they have been sent poppies in the post made by people in Greece and Derby and elsewhere in the country, as well as people making them at home in the village and bringing them into the library or the chapel to be included. In the future they hope to cover Princetown’s public benches and other places in a carpet of red each Remembrance weekend and day.

The village has a high percentage of former and serving service personnel, which makes the tribute particularly meaningful.

Ally, a civil servant from Princetown, came up with the idea of the poppy carpet and suggested it to Anna Dodd, the Methodist lay preacher for the area, and Mary Henson, who runs the craft group.

Ally said: “I got the idea from Truro where they have something similar at Remembrance and it looks amazing. We have a high military presence in Princetown with families having links to the Navy and Army especially. I spoke to Mary and Anna and they agreed that it could be done through the craft and chat group in the chapel.

“We’ve been at it for about a year and so far there’s a six-foot tall carpet which looks really good. We’re still going strong. There’s the basic cut-out textile versions and there’s knitted and crocheted versions. We have patterns available for people to use if they need to. It’s a bit of a production line, but we all chat at the same time and someone makes the tea and coffee. We’re really pleased that so many people have chosen to take part with the village school, local WI and Kelly College all producing versions of poppies.”

Mary said: “I picked up on the poppy making idea and ran with it and incorporated it in to the craft group. It’s wonderful how popular it’s been. It’s caught the imagination of so many people. And not just from here, but from all over the country, including from Derby and even from Greece. The poppies tend to be from people who have links with the village and perhaps used to live here. We sewed the first carpet poppies to the net from the back, so, for a long time we didn’t see what it looked like and were really amazed how good it looked the right way round.”

Mary added: “I’d like to thank Mickey Cole who donated the army camouflage net which the poppies are all attached to. We’re making four carpets for four church gates. They’ll all be cable-tied to the gates and the poppies sprayed with weather proofing. Also we thank the Princetown Charity Shop for making a donation towards materials, that just shows what a village effort it is, even if people aren’t directly making the poppies.

“It would be lovely if more people could join us. We have until Remembrance Sunday, November 12, when the poppies will be put on the gates. Then there’ll be a Remembrance procession from the church to the parade and service at the war memorial on the green.”

The group is also making purple poppies for a mini carpet for a post box, commemorating animals who died in service for their country.

Mount Kelly College students have contributed to the product by creating painted poppies on round pieces of wood which look like cross sections of mini-trees.

Jo Tribe, art lead at Mount Kelly Prep, said: “We are involving every pupil at Mount Kelly Prep in the painting of a wooden poppy so they can create a field of flowers that are each as unique as they are.

“By taking the time to create a personal poppy the pupils are also learning about its significance in representing lives lost on active service and giving them an outlet to show their support for the sacrifice of our Armed Forces, veterans and their families.”

India, in Year 8 at Mount Kelly Prep, said: “Our poppies show that we care about people and peace in the world. I am also pleased that our Mount Kelly poppies are made of wood and not plastic, which is better for the planet.”

Donations of red wool and felt and black buttons are welcomed. Anyone interested in joining in or making donations can contact Sandra or Ally on [email protected]

The Methodist Chapel craft group meets to make poppies on Mondays between 10.15am and 12 noon, while the library poppy making opens from 4pm and 5pm.