Barkham Hookers wear crocheted poppies with pride

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Tony The Thin Controller with Gaynor White
Tony The Thin Controller with Gaynor White

WOKINGHAM’S Poppy Appeal efforts are being boosted by a crafty group of hookers.

Members of a local crochet group have once again got out their needles to create some bespoke and special poppies in a bid to beat the £8,000 they raised last year.

And one of the first people to receive a handmade poppy was Tony, the Thin Controller, at Wokingham’s railway station.

Barkham Hookers leader Gaynor White, presented him with a crocheted poppy. In its centre is an old British Rail button.

“Tony was overjoyed,” she told The Wokingham Paper. “He wasn’t expecting it. He got hold of my number and rang me that evening to say how delighted her was. His poppy has a bakelite British Rail button in its centre.

“I’ve also given a poppy to Paul, our postie. He has a vintage GPO (Post Office) logo on his.
“If people have been in the services, we can make a poppy for them using one of their dress buttons. I’ve made some with Met Police buttons, for example.”

The Barkham Hookers first started crocheting their woollen poppies five years ago and have seen the response mushroom.

“In the first year I made them just for friends and family,” Ms White said. “It just took off and we raised £500 for the Poppy Appeal. Last year we made £8,000.”

And they have been looking for ways to smash last year’s effort, which raised the most amount for the appeal locally.

“We’re making poppies for pets such as dogs and horses; we’re just finding new ways to sell them,” she said.

“100% of the money goes to the Poppy Appeal, we get all the materials ourselves. There’s about 400 people in the Barkham Hookers and around 50 of them contribute to the poppies. Some will make 100, others 200.

“It takes around 20 minutes to make one – it’s quite quick and I can do them quite speedily.”

The poppies are sold for a minimum donation of at least £3 and Ms White is encouraging people to reuse them in years to come – as long as they keep on making donations to the Poppy Appeal.

Next year, the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the group has even bigger plans. They have produced a special crocheted mosaic of a poppy.

“Measuring 6ft square, members each made a square that when put together formed the picture. It has already been displayed in the .morearts shop last year, but Ms White would like it to go on national display.

“It’s a beautiful picture of a poppy,” she said. “Next year is the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and we’d love it to go to London.”

The crochet poppies are now on sale across Wokingham including Stitchery Do, Purple Butterfly, Curves Wokingham, Ashridge Garden Centre, Barkham Post Office, Kynoch Vets, Nine Mile Ride Vets, Nine Mile Ride dentist and Lockey Farm.

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