Thousands of woollen poppies installed in South Shields ahead of Remembrance weekend

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A stunning display of 5,000 handmade poppies has been unveiled ahead of Remembrance events this weekend.

The commemorative tribute was created by the Knit and Natter group which meets in The Word, and has been mounted around the pulpit, fencing and war memorial at St Hilda's Church.

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A separate matching display featuring almost 400 flowers has also been placed in the atrium of The Word, which organisers say is to help unify the two locations in a joint tribute of remembrance ahead of this weekend's commemorations.

Mayor of South Tyneside Councillor Olive Punchion said: “The poppies look amazing adorning the grounds of St Hilda’s and inside The Word.

“They are a wonderful mark of remembrance ahead of events taking place across South Tyneside this weekend and a fitting tribute to our Armed Forces community and all those who sacrificed so much for their country.

“The Knit and Natter group has done an excellent job lovingly handcrafting the poppies and stitching donated poppies into place. Their months and months of hard work has certainly paid off – the display looks fabulous.”

The group began creating the poppies in January after being inspired by similar projects elsewhere in the country last year.

Members of the 30-strong Knit and Natter group, which meets at The Word, started creating the poppies in January, after seeing similar displays in other parts of the country during last year’s remembrance events.

Their activities quickly inspired visitors to The Word, which led to further contributions from the public.

Member Joy Parker, who led the project, said: “Members of the group have been absolutely fantastic. They really took the project to their heart and worked hard all year round to get it finished.

"The response to it has gone well beyond our expectations. We are delighted with how it took off, but it would not have happened without all our members pulling together.

“We are extremely grateful to all those members of the public who knitted their own poppies and donated them to our cause. We would also like to thank Knit n Purl wool shop for their support with our project.”

The Knit and Natter group is a library group, which meets at The Word in South Shields Market Place, on Mondays, from 10am to 11:30am.

They previously met at Central Library before moving into the new library and cultural venue which opened last year.

See details of Remembrance weekend events across South Tyneside here.