Red poppies

Essex group have already knitted over 18,000 poppies.

Published: 11/11/2021

Throughout the pandemic, the King Edward Community Centre Knit & Natters have been busy knitting poppies. Unable to meet in person, this group of ten ladies, who live Laindon and Basildon in Essex, have continued to knit to help them stay connected with each other and their community.

The Knit and Natters group initiated the poppy project back in October 2018 and hope to eventually knit 888,246 poppies, one for every soldier who lost their life in World War One.

The group has had support from our Essex Community Programme Co-ordinator, Ella Rayment, and have also had funding from Peabody’s Community Leaders Grant. In addition they've received donations of wool from a range of suppliers.

The Knit and Natters have now knitted over 18,000 poppies though this does include some which have been knitted by other groups, Peabody employees, customers, friends and family across the country.

Every year the poppies have been displayed at different locations across Essex. There are currently 927 poppies on display outside the King Edward Community Centre (above).

At the George Hurd Activity Centre in Basildon there is a display of knitted figures depicting different roles within the war effort (above). These are 3D knitted figures of soldiers, sailors, airmen, land army girls, Chelsea pensioners and others knitted by two of the Knit and Natter ladies.

The plan is that the poppies will continue to be displayed at various locations and knitted brooches will be donated to the Royal British Legion to aid in their fundraising efforts.

Pip Bendon, 72, Laindon resident and Knit and Natter member, said: “I’ve been knitting poppies for a few years now when our group first came up with the idea to start the Peabody poppy project … I think it’s so important that we commemorate Remembrance Day and not forget why so many hundreds of thousands of brave men, women, horses, dogs and others died to save so many more. We need future generations to know the sacrifices that was made and the bravery that was shown.”

Ella Rayment, Community Programme Co-ordinator at the King Edward Community Centre, added: “I hadn’t imagined the project to grow as much as it has. I think we thought we might get to 5,000 or so but to be in the tens of thousands now is incredible.

"The Knit and Natter ladies have done an amazing job. They are all so talented and do all the hard work. It’s also been wonderful to be able to connect with people across the county and even the country when we’ve received donations of knitted poppies. I really hope that we’ll be able to continue the project in 2022. Our goal is to show displays of the knitted poppies to even more people and to get even more knitters involved.”

Before the pandemic we made a film with Pip and Ella about the Knit and Natter group and the Peabody Poppy Project, which you can watch here:

Contact us

Got specific questions about Peabody? We’re always happy to help.