07 NOV 2018

Maidstone delivers superb #5000Poppies Remembrance Project; MP Helen Grant praises the superb efforts of local people

Helen Grant, MP for Maidstone & the Weald, visited Maidstone Museum last week to add her support to the #5000Poppies project, ahead of it's opening on 6th November.

The #5000Poppies project enlisted the help of a multitude of Maidstone residents in creating an installation of handmade poppies to recognise the Armistice Centenary this year. Maidstone Museum and Golding Homes teamed up to bring the project to the County Town.

Helen said "The installation of the poppies is truly striking and beautiful, but the personal stories behind each handmade poppy is what makes the display so special. I would encourage anyone to visit in remembrance of the thousands who gave their lives, from Kent and all around the world, so that we can live in peace."

Sarah Leipnik, running the project on behalf of Golding Homes, was overwhelmed at receiving over 8,000 poppies from local individuals. She said "We wanted to organise a project that would bring communities together and we thought that 5000 Poppies would be a great way to do that. We are so proud of the effort and enthusiasm shown by everyone from schools, businesses, craft groups and individuals! The poppies we have received are all individual and beautiful, it's been amazing!"

Helen Grant was one of the Ministers responsible for the planning and commencement of the WW1 centenary commemorations in 2014 and was touched to receive her very own handmade poppy during the visit, created by the talented Sarah Willis. Sarah had only learnt to knit at the start of the project and went on to produce several more that will be displayed in the Café Culture at Maidstone Museum.

Sarah said, "Two years ago I faced the biggest challenge I will ever face, I have to cope with the pain of losing a son at a time when he was setting out on his career. I was given support from family, friends and the community around me. For this reason I wanted to give something back that would give pleasure and hopefully a sense of community spirt to every person that looks at the display of poppies, bearing in mind at the time I did not even know what knitting was or how to do it. With help from my friends and family I soon mastered it and added green leaves to give a finishing touch.''

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