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Crafting the town red

Alison Stewart knits more poppies as daughter Val Theodore empties another batch knitted by volunteers. Photo - Helen Tatchell

By Carol Saffer

The small Scottish sea-side village of Aberlady adorned their parish church on Remembrance Day last year with a stunning cascade of more than 6,000 knitted and crocheted poppies.
Ballan and District CWA branch members Val Theodore, 48, and her 74-year-old mum Alison Stewart, inspired by photos sent by their family who live in Aberlady and helped create the display, have a vision to create a similar tribute installing handcrafted textile poppy installations around Ballan
Mrs Theodore said it would be nice if we could do something [like this]. “Originally mum and I thought we would just knit some poppies and create a wreath. My grandfather served in the Second World War. I lost my great grandfather in WWI.”
She successfully pitched the idea to her fellow CWA branch members who in partnership with Ballan RSL are inviting the local community to join them in remembering the special significance of this year’s November 11 Remembrance Day, marking the centenary of the Armistice ending the First World War, by knitting, crocheting or crafting red poppies for the display.
The Ballan post office is the site for the installation of handcrafted poppies cascading down the front of the building.
The minimum target for poppies is 2000.
However, Ms Theodore said the more poppies they get the more installations they can do.
“The aim is for anyone who contributes, even one poppy, can walk down the main street when the installation is up and really feel an attachment to the community,” she said.
Pupils at St Brigid’s and Ballan Primary Schools together with St Patrick’s Primary School in Gordon are also excited to be involved in the project.
The Bacchus Marsh RSL Women’s Auxiliary donated their 50 surplus poppies, from the wreathes created to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first planting of the Avenue of Honour, to the project.
The Ballan Farmers’ Market is behind the project giving out flyers, printed with a knitting pattern for a full ribbed poppy.
“Everybody is getting excited,” MsTheodore said.
There is a suggestion other buildings and areas in Ballan could also be adorned if there is an over-abundance of crafted poppies.
“We will all be able to sit back with a little bit of pride on Remembrance Day,” Ms Theodore said.
At the time of going to print the poppy count stands at 840.
For more information contact Ballan & District CWA branch online or facebook or join them on the third Thursday of each month at the Ballan RSL, 7pm.