Stirling lends a hand on poppy project

Published on Mr Andrew Bujdegan (author)

Location(s): HMAS Stirling, WA

Topic(s): HMAS Stirling, Remembrance Day

Volunteer Trish Clark works with 'Poppy Lady' Judy Batho and other volunteers to clean and prepare the handmade poppies for Remembrance Day. (photo: )
Volunteer Trish Clark works with 'Poppy Lady' Judy Batho and other volunteers to clean and prepare the handmade poppies for Remembrance Day.

The Returned and Services League of Western Australia ‘Poppy Ladies’ are once again preparing to roll out the fields of poppies that we saw last year around Remembrance Day.

The group recently enlisted the help of a number of HMAS Stirling members to clean and patch up the poppies that will again be on display for this year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies.

The volunteers hard at work cleaning poppies for display at this year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies.

The volunteers hard at work cleaning poppies for display at this year’s Remembrance Day ceremonies.

RSL WA Poppy Ladies coordinator Ms Judy Welch said the work was continuous and kept her team very busy, but it was well worth the reward.

“As a former serving member, these activities are close to my heart.

“With a common cause and extreme passion in what we do, the bond and satisfaction within the group is significant,” she said.

The red poppy has special significance for Australians and is traditionally worn on Remembrance Day each year.

The flowers were among the first to return in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium in the First World War - in soldiers’ folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground.

Since forming to support Centenary of Anzac activities in 2014, the group has been involved in numerous activities, in particular, the production of knitted and crocheted poppies, each one taking about two hours to make.

The poppies have been seen in numerous places with 5000 being used in Federation Square in Melbourne and another 5000 being sent for display at the Chelsea Flower Show in London.

Last year, 62,000 poppies were placed in the gardens surrounding the State War Memorial in Perth to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War.

“Apart from the poppies, we have also produced 2000 beanies and scarves for our deployed troops,” Ms Welch said.

“Earlier this year, we also remembered our serving canine friends with the production of dog blankets for eight retiring service dogs from RAAF Pearce.”

The Stirling poppy clean-up day was deemed extremely successful with several thousand poppies refurbished.

A heartfelt thank you was extended by the group to all who came and supported the workshop and to the rest of the team at HMAS Stirling for their generosity on the day.