St John’s Chapel Poppy Creations
1526. Venita Pattinson
Venita Pattinson, from Bishop Auckland, created the St. John’s Chapel Remembrance event with over 5,000 poppies knitted by her and her team of volunteers to raise funds for the Royal British Legion.
In spite of lockdown, Venita brought together knitters in her community, many of whom have been shielding, to create poppies at home for a public display marking Remembrance and provide a project that can help their mental health in the process. The group have also recycled 1,600 plastic bottle tops to make 255 poppies for a memorial garden, each remembering an individual from their community of Weardale who died in the First or Second World Wars.
Venita was presented with her award in person by the St John’s Chapel memorial by her local MP Richard Holden (pictured).
In a personal letter to Venita, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“I have been so uplifted by the kindness and community spirit shown across our country over the last year.
“By organising the fantastic Remembrance display with Ann and Joy you have created a lasting visual tribute with your sea of homemade poppies. In doing so, you have honoured our fallen service men and women and also brought your whole village together in a project which has tackled loneliness and raised spirits.”
“It’s great that our community in Weardale have been recognised by the Prime Minister. I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of all the volunteers in St John’s Chapel Poppy Creations who put so many thousands of hours collectively in creating our memorial to honour those in Weardale who went to fight for us and never returned.”