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Pop-up poppy installation to raise money for Royal British Legion appeal

Marion Minshall shows Mandy Dixon how to crotchet a Poppy

[A] POP-up art installation is being created at this year’s Kendal Wool Gathering – featuring crocheted poppies.

The installation then will be moved to behind Kendal Parish Church to feature in the Remembrance Day services just two weeks later.

The poppies will raise money for the Royal British Legion annual appeal which helps care for Armed Forces and their families.

Details and demonstrations will be held tomorrow (Thursday, September 14) at Westmorland County Show, at Crooklands, in the arts and crafts tent.

Local arts administrator Sara Last has been engaged to organise the display of the poppies outside Kendal Leisure Centre, the new home of the Gathering, over the weekend of October 28 and 29.

It will comprise a tent covered with camouflage material onto which the poppies will pinned.

The success of the venture relies on volunteers joining in the mass production of the poppies. About 40 groups have already been recruited with Women’s Institutes, Brownie and Guide packs and church organisations being approached in the coming weeks.

A simple crocheting pattern has been devised by Marion Minshall who has been giving a series of demonstrations on how to make the poppies at K Village.

She will also be on hand to help those wanting to make the poppies at the Westmorland County Show and the Gathering itself. Packs of material to make two poppies will be available, one to keep and wear and one to add to the installation.

Other poppies are also being contributed from previous similar collections.

Deputy chair of Kendal Wool Gathering, Mandy Dixon, said: “This year is the centenary of some of the bloodiest battles of the First World War and we want to create a piece of art that helps people remember the sacrifices made and still being made as a result of conflict.

“We want to engage with as many people as possible in a simple, easy, affordable and thoughtful way, and at the same time create something visual for this great cause.”

After KWG the installation will be rebuilt behind Kendal Parish Church for remembrance weekend, November 11 and 12.

Vicar Revd Rob Saner-Haigh said: “We’re really pleased to be involved with this project which is such a fitting way for all ages in Kendal to remember those from our community who have served in the armed forces, and particularly this year as we continue to remember the centenary of the First World War.

“It is also a great way to raise money for the British Legion as it supports service men and women today.”

Kendal youth groups are to be approached to guard the installation at each of its sites.

After Remembrance weekend the poppies are being donated to Wonder Wools of Wales which has a target of 887,858 to represent each death of a UK service person in World War 1 with a Centenary textile curtain of Poppies.

Further information and how to get involved will be available at the Kendal Wool Gathering stall in the craft tent at the County Show on Thursday, September 14, and also on Facebook at and

The fifth annual Kendal Wool Gathering, which celebrates the town’s connections to the trade on which its wealth was built, will be held on October 28 and 29 at Kendal Leisure Centre. For its first four years the event was held at K Village complex.

“Kendal Wool Gathering has grown in numbers of stall-holders and visitors each year and this year we hope to make a smooth transition to our new home,” said KWG Chairman, Mike Glover.

The Lancs and Lakes Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, which has supported the Gathering in previous years, will be back with up to four looms so visitors can have a go a weaving.

Alison Sharman, chair of the Guild, said: “We are really excited to be coming to Kendal Wool Gathering for the fourth time.

“We thoroughly enjoy talking to visitors and being able to promote so much interest in heritage crafts. The Wool Gathering has a terrific atmosphere – it’s great to be able to welcome so many people who have travelled from outside our region.”

Threshing Barn, based in Reeth, Swaledale, is providing taster sessions in spinning, felting and knitting.

Blue Badge Guide Janice Wilson is organising walks entitled Unravel the Story of Wool.

She will take customers on a four mile tour, either side of the River Kent and split by a stop at Kendal Town Hall, of the town’s fascinating history focusing on the wool trade.

The switch to Kendal Leisure Centre has been made possible with the help of a grant from Kendal Town Council, which is contributing £5,000 to the running and promotion costs in total, and another donation of £3,500 from Cumbria County Council.

Sixty stall-holders have now booked spaces. They come from Aberdeen, London, Wales and even Holland, as well as across the North of England.

They include carpet makers, handbag and accessory companies, spinning wheel sellers, artists and many retailers of knitting wool and associated goods.

As well as the wool market, there are side rooms for workshops, demonstrations and places to knit and natter.

Other regular supporters returning are Kendal Quaker Tapestry and Westmorland Agricultural Society, whose members will be bringing livestock to marquees outside the Leisure Centre.

Last year Kendal Wool Gathering attracted more than 7,000 visitors, about a third of whom said they came to the area specifically for the festival, boosting the local economy.

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