November has been a very special and emotive time for people across the whole country as the signing of the Armistice treaty 100 years ago has been remembered. In Stoke Gifford, this important piece of our history has been marked with a number of different poppy displays going up on and around The Green in the centre of the village.
Andrew St Quinton is a local carpenter who lives in one of the cottages facing The Green. His mother, who lives next door, has some beautiful fairies in her front garden and she asked Andrew if he would be able to make her something to go in the garden for Remembrance Day. Using the Tommy silhouette for inspiration, Andrew used freehand to draw an outline and then carved the figure. Although it looks like it is made of cast iron, like the original Tommy silhouettes, Andrew actually used his carpentry skills to make it out of wood. When Andrew’s wife saw the silhouette, she wanted one for their house as well and so the project began.
When the silhouette was put in the garden it blended into the garden too much so Andrew decided to put them up on the walls so that they would stand out against the white background. He then decided to try different shapes, including a figure kneeling down and a cross. Andrew said:
“It has been really good to mark the 100 years with a special display, especially as I have many friends and family who have served in the armed forces – this is my tribute to them. They were quite easy to make – I completed them all over the course of a long weekend. And now that we have them, it can become a tradition that we put them up every year for Remembrance Day”.
Poppies on lampposts
When travelling through mid-Wales recently, local resident Adrian Kerton noticed many of the villages had attached giant poppies to the lampposts to celebrate the ending of the First World War when the Armistice was signed on 11th November 1918. A phone call to Brian Hewitt, MBE, president of the Stoke Gifford branch of the Royal British Legion, resulted in Adrian receiving a quantity of the giant poppies from local Poppy Appeal organiser John Moloney, which Adrian posted around the cenotaph on the village green.
Armistice Day holds a particular memory for Adrian as five years ago, when returning home from the Remembrance service held at the cenotaph, he suffered a heart attack. Thanks to the swift response by the ambulance service and treatment at the Bristol Heart Institute, he is now enjoying life again.
The St Michael’s Yarn Bombers (SMYB) have been busy again this year, putting up another beautiful display of the poppies that they have knitted and crocheted. Over 20 people have spent over 9,000 hours knitting and crocheting a variety of poppy patterns to create the display that has been put up outside the St Michael’s Centre. Most of the poppies have been made using Royal British Legion approved patterns; however there are also some different patterns which gives the display a variety of colour. This year, the SMYB have used the 700 knitted and crocheted poppies to create a display which includes poppy wreaths and the words ‘Lest We Forget’.
If anyone would like any more information about the St Michael’s Yarn Bombers, or would like to join the group, please contact Kia and Debbie, who founded the group in February 2016, at email@example.com. Alternatively, you can visit their Facebook page (‘SMYB’) to find out when their next knitting session takes place.
This article originally appeared in the December 2018 issue of the Stoke Gifford Journal news magazine (on page 18). The magazine is delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to over 5,000 homes in Stoke Gifford, Little Stoke and Harry Stoke. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.