Nimble-fingered students and staff at a North Shropshire secondary school have become ‘hooked’ on producing hundreds of crocheted poppies to help promote the Royal British Legion’s annual remembrance appeal.

The poppies will be used in a special display at Lakelands Academy in Ellesmere which is asking the wider community to support its efforts by making and sponsoring poppies.

The idea came about after teaching assistant Angela Jones helped teachers in the school’s maths department to set up a lunchtime crochet club for students last year.

“They were very enthusiastic and keen to learn,” she said. “ It’s proved so popular that it seemed like a good idea to do something to help the Poppy Appeal.”

For the past month, about a dozen club members have been busy crocheting poppies, which will form part of a display that will be unveiled in the school’s reception area in the week leading up to Remembrance Sunday.

Head of maths Vicky Heath said:  “We enjoy it so much and you could say we’ve all become hooked on crochet. Producing the poppies is a great opportunity for everyone to improve their crocheting skills while learning about the poppy and the importance of remembrance.

“We’ve also sent a message to parents asking them to join in and support us and we’re hoping to get the whole community involved by sponsoring poppies in the names of loved ones who’ve given their lives serving their country.”

Ellesmere’s new poppy appeal organiser Caroline Ford praised the school’s efforts, saying: “It’s really wonderful to see young people becoming so involved in supporting the Royal British Legion in such a practical way that’s relevant to their daily lives.  We’re very grateful for what they’re doing and to their teachers for encouraging them to learn a new skill that they’re putting to such good use.

Legion branch chairman Bob McBride added:  “This is a great initiative by Lakelands Academy.  It gives a new generation the opportunity to learn about the poppy as a symbol of remembrance and we hope the wider community will follow their example and support this year’s appeal with as much generosity as they have in previous years”.

Last year’s appeal in Ellesmere and district – led by retiring appeal organiser Lynn Howard –raised more than ten thousand pounds towards the Shropshire county total of over £460,000.

“We’re hoping to do even better in raising more money over the next twelve months,” said Mr McBride. “The people of Ellesmere and district are always incredibly generous, but we have to recognise that the cost of living crisis is affecting everyone’s pocket.

“On behalf of our branch, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported us by donating to the appeal. Our thanks and appreciation also goes to all the local schools, businesses and community organisations who help in raising the money.”

This year’s appeal will be launched on Thursday, (October 26) and will feature a new plastic-free poppy made from an innovative blend of renewable fibre that can be.

Students and staff at Lakelands Academy help to launch this year’s Poppy Appeal with officials of the Ellesmere and District branch of the Royal British Legion.

Grace and Tilly are among the students taking part in the poppy-making project.

Picture Credit: David Atkinson.