A north-east church is aiming to make almost 2,000 knitted poppies as part of a memorial to mark the centenary of the First World War.
Skene Parish Church of Scotland wants to create a gallery of 1,918 knitted poppies, entitled Poppies with Purpose in time for the November anniversary of the end of the First World War.
Reverend Stella Campbell, along with church elder Aileen Reid, and other members of the congregation, are hoping to gather the knitted poppies to create an installation at sites including Skene Kirk, the Village Store, Trinity Church, Aberdeen Air Training Corps and SensationALL as part of a mini-festival marking the important moment in history over November 9, 10 and 11.
Skene Parish, which includes both the Skene Church in Kirkton of Skene and Trinity Church in Westhill, has already begun to sell knitting kits complete with patterns to encourage people to get started.
Already, 200 poppies have been knitted, with 150 of those done by congregation member Mary Dryden.
Rev Campbell said: “We are selling the knitting patterns, along with materials to make the finished item into a brooch, for £2 with £1.50 going directly to Poppy Scotland and the remaining 50p to cover costs.
“We would like to get everyone involved, whether it’s something people are just getting into now, or perhaps people who haven’t knitted in a long time.
“So far we have 200 knitted poppies in storage, 150 of which were knitted by Mary Dryden, but we still have a way to go.”
Rev Campbell and her team are hoping to organise knitting groups where people can meet, work together on knitting the poppies while reducing loneliness for those who feel isolated. She added: “We’re passionate about engaging with the community and especially helping people who suffer from social isolation get back into the community.
“We would like to organise knitting afternoons too but we are still in the early planning stages.
“We also like to get the schoolchildren in the community involved, the children of Skene, Crombie, Elrick and Westhill primary schools will be making paper flowers to contribute to the display.
“For me, it provides a great opportunity to come together as a community, young and old, to mark an important anniversary.
“It’s important to mark it as the centenary (the First World War) because as we get further away from it in history, future generations may study it less, perhaps focusing more on the history of the Second World War.”
For Aileen, who kickstarted the project with Rev Campbell, the use of poppies has a special importance.
She said: “My granddaughter is named Poppy, and really she was the inspiration.
“Like most grandparents I was overwhelmed with love when Poppy was born in October 2017, and I realised that around the time of her first birthday the whole country is likely to be awash with poppies.
“I was keen to help Stella and Skene Churches take an active part in the commemoration of the end of the Great War, and felt that the Poppies with Purpose project could help fulfil their goals.”
The use of poppies to remember the sacrifices made in the First World War originated in the 1915 poem ‘In Flanders Field’ by Canadian Scot John McCrae.
In it, McCrae tells of red poppies having grown over the graves of fallen soldiers.
Rev Campbell would also like to pay homage to a First World War granite memorial in Skene Church as part of the centenary event, by seeking the descendants of the names inscribed on the stone.
She said: “We would love to find the relatives of those commemorated on this memorial to invite them to be part of the remembrance event.
“It’s got a lot of history to it so we are just trying to get the word out about it.”
Those wishing to buy a knitting pattern for a poppy, or to get further information, are invited to visit either Skene Church or Trinity Church.