Crochet Poppies 2015

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© Lisa Benjamin

Last year, when this site was still very new, I offered to make handmade crochet poppies for Remembrance Day. These poppies were free of charge, but so as not to detract from the official poppy-selling charity, I gave them away in exchange for proof of a donation to the Royal British Legion.

The Royal British Legion is a wonderful charity that does wonderful things to help men and women in the armed forces, and their families. In fact, did you know that the official paper poppies are handmade by disabled ex-service personnel?

But those paper poppies can be tricky to pin on, and I don’t know about you but I am forever losing mine! Official enamel poppy pins are now available via the Poppy Shop, but I wanted to try my hand at making a crochet poppy version. 

I was amazed at how many people took me up on the offer – you certainly kept my crocheting fingers busy, and raised lots of money, so thank you!

I’ve been so busy recently that I didn’t advertise the same offer this year, but I couldn’t refuse when a lovely lady called Marine, who’d seen last year’s post, asked if I could make her 5 crochet poppies for her and her friends. She gave a donation to a charity called Combat Stress – I hope the Royal British Legion don’t mind!

Combat Stress is a charity that provides counselling and mental health support services for men and women who have served in the armed forces. It wasn’t until quite recently that I truly realised just how important this charity is…

My Granddad, Frank, at the start of the army career that affected the rest of his life.
My Granddad, Frank, aged about 17, at the start of the army career that affected the rest of his life.

My own grandfather, Frank, served in the British Army during the Suez Crisis of the 1950s. Although he often talked very fondly of the camaraderie of his army days, he was more usually known as the proverbial “grumpy old man”. Little did we realise that much of his negativity, anger, and sadness was most likely a manifestation of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Back then, men – especially soldiers – were expected to “man up” and get on with things, which is exactly what my granddad did, in the best way he knew how, until one day in January earlier this year when it all got too much for him… Let’s just say if charities like Combat Stress had been around when my granddad was younger, he might still be with us today.

So thank you Marine, for supporting not only my handmade work, but also for supporting a truly amazing and much-needed charity.

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