Kind-hearted residents aged between 60 and 103, along with staff at Sycamore Hall Housing & Care 21 have put their knitting needles to good use over the last month and have lovingly hand-crafted over 150 poppies to mark Armistice Day on Sunday 11 November.
The group initially set themselves a target of £100 that they hoped to raise from the sale of the poppies, which would then be passed on to the Royal British Legion (RBL).
Local pubs and outlets including The Fox and Hound and Wensleydale Heifer in West Witton and the Rose and Crown in Bainbridge all agreed to display the knitted poppies and offer them to customers. In just one week the target was met with more than £150 collected.
Thanks to generous donations from residents throughout the Dales, the funds raised so far have reached over £370 with collections ongoing. A representative from RBL will meet with those that have knit their way to success when they pick up the funds at the end of November.
Carer at Sycamore Hall, Sue Ayre, explains how the activity came about: “We were talking about how the residents could get involved with Armistice Day and some of them said they would like to do something to raise money. That’s when I suggested they knit poppies to be sold.
“We did enough poppies to raise £100 for a hundred years but it soon became apparent that there was a real demand for them. We can’t believe we’ve done nearly four times what we expected!
“I’m so proud of everyone that has got involved and would like to thank the outlets that have displayed them and offered them to customers. It’s so great to see so many people now wearing their knitting poppies with pride!”
Resident, Margaret Walters, comments: “Knowing that we have raised so much money is remarkable. I can’t believe that so many people want to wear our poppies, it’s brilliant! It wasn’t just about raising the funds though, it was fun to come together and to knit and natter while we created the poppies. I’d certainly do it again.”
As well as creating the traditional red poppies, the residents also knit a purple variation which is worn as a mark of respect for all the animals that died during the wars.
Housing & Care 21, the not-for-profit, leading national provider of retirement housing and care services for older people, has a long-standing history with the RBL dating back to 1921, when the charity began to house disabled ex-servicemen and widows and later older ex-servicemen and women.
In 1964 it was decided that due to demand a Housing Association would be required and the RBL launched its first housing scheme the following year. By 1983 the organisation was responsible for 10,000 homes and in 1992 the housing association split from RBL creating Housing 21, which is now responsible for 19,000 apartments including those at Sycamore Hall.