Hi Ho … Hi Ho …

Happy Wednesday all …

Yesterday was our first day back at Poppy Headquarters in Melbourne, and WOW … THE MAIL!!!

In short, there was well in excess of 11,000 AWM poppies delivered to PHQ over the break … not quite a record but huge nonetheless. Much bigger than any of our expectations.

So … drum roll here … we also managed to complete our commitment to the RSL for 50,000 pinned poppies for the 2018 Poppy Appeal.  An amazing feat and months ahead of schedule.

I am in awe of you all.

And, another drum roll is in order … we are also WELL ahead of our schedule for our stems for the Australian War Memorial for Remembrance Day this year.

Our Canberra team is flying with the creation of some 10,000 plus stems to add to the 28,000 that are sitting in our warehouse waiting for their next big outing … more than half way to our target of 62,000 and months ahead of schedule (although we will be making extra stems to cover breakages over the 5 week installation period).

Our i-corders and goopers have been tested to keep up with demand for “stems” from our Canberra team,  but now that our RSL commitment is complete … it will be all hands on deck for these tasks … we will be churning out stemmed poppies by the multitudes in no time …

So I think it’s time to down poppymaking tools for a time, until we can take stock of our resources here.  We will be over subscribed with our poppies for both projects, there is no doubt, but we have some plans afoot as I’ve mentioned before.  All very exciting and the team is raring to go.

So, let’s take a break, put our crochet hooks and knitting needles away for a time, and send in your wonderful poppies now … Then we can see where we are at.

Again … I am in awe of you all!!!

With love and much, much gratitude.

 

 

 

 

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It’s hard to believe 2018 is here …

Good afternoon, and happy new year to our poppy tribe everywhere … may your year be filled with love, laughter, family and friends …

I am pinching myself that 2018 has arrived already … right on schedule.  The last five years have both flown by and dragged in equal measure, but this year will definitely fly … and it’s going to be huge for all of us involved in this amazing community tribute of respect and remembrance for our Service men and women past and present.

I see some of our groups are already up and running for 2018 which is amazing.

Poppy headquarters will not be resuming work at the East Malvern RSL until Tuesday 23 January, and there will be NO second Monday of the month at Fed Square this month.  We will resume in February.  We felt after five years working on the project, we needed a well earned break to recharge our batteries and give ourselves some space for planning.

To date we have now collected over 50,000 poppies for our AWM installation for Remembrance Day this year, and our stem production program is well in hand and will ramp up in the coming months.

I know there are many of you are continuing to make poppies for AWM and I want to advise that we are planning an additional installation at another important Canberra institution for Remembrance Day this year … which is also VERY, VERY exciting … more news on this when plans are more concrete. So please don’t be concerned that you will miss out.  Send in your poppies.

Suffice to say that your beautiful poppies will be on display at two of Australia’s iconic institutions for Remembrance Day this year … It will be spectacular … evocative, respectful and very, very beautiful.  What a privilege!

We also have a magnificent installation planned in support of the Launceston RSL’s Centenary of Armistice Concert for Remembrance Day 2018, and we are just a smidge short of finalising our commitment to the Vic RSL for the poppy appeal for 2018 … so we are moving along at a pace.

So I am very happy to advise that at this point we are well ahead of schedule … Although we still have PLENTY of work to do before November, and once the break is over … it will be all hands on deck!

So (without wishing my life away, and knowing that I need this downtime) I’m itching to get back into it …

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your continued support.

Can’t wait!

Lynn xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My Christmas message to you all …

This is my address at our Christmas breakup yesterday … It was really lovely to get together in a big social group and just chat …

I often say I could talk for hours about this project … so settle in …

I was sitting in the Canberra airport on Tuesday after the launch of the Australian War Memorial’s program for Remembrance Day 2018 by Dr Brendan Nelson, and I have to admit I was feeling rather proud and very, very excited

Knitted Poppies in the grounds of the Memorial

What a stage for our final installation … what a stunning backdrop for this amazing tribute created by many, many thousands of hands across the world with so much love, honour and respect.

We have been working on what I like to call “our lovely little community project” for nearly five years now and by the time we complete our AWM installation it will be nearly six. At that time we will have completed at least nine major installations both in Australia and overseas, a well as many smaller ones in Victoria.  We will have made, collected and processed some 370,000 poppies, onto nets, stems, strings and pins, spawned a plethora of 5000 Poppies inspired projects all over the world and connected many thousands of people of all ages from 2 to 102 from many different cultural backgrounds through our tribute.

Marg and I always knew that what we started was special … you all know the story … in my heart it was about my dad … and for Marg … it was about her dad … so it was ALWAYS going to be special. But, wow … the response from the community was so immediate and so very, very powerful. And now it’s about our collective stories … fathers and mothers, grandfathers and grandmothers, great grandfathers and great grandmothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, uncles and aunts, friends, colleagues …

And if you had asked me how it would end up when we started out in 2013 … we simply had no way of knowing where it would lead.  Although, once we went public and people started sending us their poppies … I admit we had an inkling that it would be big … but BIG is relative … big compared to what?  And it is … BIG … in so many ways … and that’s part of the beauty of it.

poppies in the Memorial grounds

For those of you have been with us since very early on … firstly making a few poppies and then a few more, and then tagging poppies onto nets for Fed Square and then making stems for Chelsea and then back again to repair and rejuvenate the nets and stems ready for the next installation … and then this year – with our install at the Shrine in November, our Vic RSL commitment and, of course, the AWM installation … it has continued to be a HUGE physical and emotional task that we have undertaken.

We have had a wonderful journey so far.  And it has been hard work … and I know I say it a lot but we are … I am … so grateful for your commitment, your incredible work ethic and most of all your unwavering belief, support and friendship.

For those who have joined us recently, your response has been overwhelming … such an incredibly powerful message of love and respect. It feels so much louder this time for some reason … perhaps because it’s recent and perhaps is because there are so many … such is the depth of feeling for those among our community who have served and those who still serve … and particularly for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice … not forgetting their families.

There is much written about our staggering losses, particularly in World War I. Those who never returned home to their loved ones, and those many many more whose lives were forever changed on so many levels in the aftermath.  A loss is a loss, and each loss leaves a trail of devastation that is handed down from generation to generation.  The wider impact is truly beyond comprehension.

There are few among us whose lives have not been touched by war in some way … and your dedications and stories reflect the impact that War has had on our lives. And THAT is why this tribute is so powerful.

We are a proud and grateful nation.  And this has been our way of saying thank you …

LEST WE FORGET!

So … for our final year in 2018, we have a very big program. The AWM this week has formally announced that 5000 Poppies will install 62,000 of our beautiful handcrafted poppies in the lawns of the Memorial in and around the new Flanders Memorial Garden to commemorate the Centenary of Armistice. 62,000, as we know, reflects the number of brave Australian souls who were lost in World War I …

But while Marg and I have always maintained that this project about all of our servicemen and women, their families and their wider communities … the AWM installation will be a stunning tribute to the fallen of WWI, the perfect centerpiece for the AWM’s Remembrance program to mark the Centenary, and a magnificent finale.  Our installation will be in situ for five weeks from 5 October through to 12 November, and during that time will be enhanced by an evocative curated music selection by Chris Latham, and a light show in the evenings, together with a number of other special events throughout that period.

I urge you to keep your eye on the AWM website and facebook page if you are planning to visit.  I expect there will be many of our Poppy Tribe visiting Canberra during that time … so good to know that you will have a five week window of opportunity.  The expectation is that Remembrance Day 2018 will be huge.  And although it will be a free ticketed event … tickets will be limited, and you will need to apply for tickets when they become available (somewhere around October 2018).

We are also in various stages of planning a couple of other major installations for the Centenary next year … one in Launceston (Tasmania), and two other major installations which are yet to be confirmed.  There will be more on these next year as the stories unfold.  And before all of that, there is Anzac Day.

As always there are many people to thank … I am always terrified of leaving out a name and it is not particularly politic to say you know who you are … but the list is 50,000 plus people long and getting longer every day.  So to all our poppy makers thank you from the bottom of our hearts … we will do you proud.  To all those who show up for everything to help … whether it be sorting mail, sewing on buttons, fixing broken poppies, washing and drying grubby poppies, i-cording, gooping, installing … and the myriad of other tasks … thank you.  To those who run workshops all over the country … and take on the role of collectors … which I still find amazing … thank you.  To the East Malvern RSL … a huge thank you for your continued support … it’s been such a relief to be able to spread out. To our financial backers, our spruikers and everyone in between.  Thank you … no amount of thank you’s will ever be enough.  To Kate … thank you.  To Phillip  who continues to challenge us raise our own bar … thank you.  To my wonderful core team … seriously … I love you all, and consider myself incredibly fortunate to have you in my life.  thank you also to Deb and Meredith who have taken on the task of chronicling our contributors and their dedications (it is not an easy task).  To Taso who created and maintains our logo and marketing materials … literally our face to to world … thank you. And of course to Margie, who, despite her early misgivings about how out of control a project like this might (and did) get … said let’s do it.

So, as we close out 2017 … I wish you all a truly wonderful Christmas filled with your favourite people and much, much joy.  Relax and enjoy the break because when we resume on 23 January next year … it will be all hands on deck for our final year.

With love and gratitude

Lynn

 

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2017 has been a long year …

5000 Poppies installation Fed Square Remembrance Day 2013

As we wind down to the end of 2017 … and look forward to what’s to come in 2018 … I say it has been a long year … but in fact it feel like only yesterday we were installing our very first installation in Federation Square in 2013  … followed by the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show and our iconic installation in Fed Square in 2015 and then the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and Fromelles in 2016.  Followed by the beautiful installation at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne for Remembrance Day this year (not to mention the many smaller (but not less beautiful or heartfelt) installations over the last 4.5 years).  And also remembering the wonderful installations of our poppies on the Western Front this year managed by our Rotary friends in District 1520.

Installation at the commemoration of the centenary of the Battle of Passchendaele 2017

So, now that I think about it … it’s been a long and very memorable 4.5 years since we started the 5000 Poppies Project back in 2013.

This year has seen us all making, collecting, sorting, pinning and bagging our 50,000 Poppies for the Victorian RSL as a thank you for their financial assistance in getting us to Chelsea and Fromelles, and also making, collecting, sorting and making preparations for our 62,000 stems for the Australian War Memorial for Remembrance Day 2018 for the Centenary of Armistice.

Either one of those projects would have been a huge undertaking on its own … to do both has been an enormous commitment … from everyone … and I admit there have been a few times when I have taken a step back and wondered if we would make it … but such is the commitment of our Poppy Team, that I need not have worried.

A few members of our Melbourne contingent in 2016

I am thrilled to report and we are well ahead of schedule on both projects … and expect that we will have our commitment to the RSL completed before Christmas … four months ahead of schedule.

We are still counting and collating numbers on the AWM poppies … because they are not all coming into PHQ … but we are well ahead of schedule on that project too … both on the collection of the poppies and the creation of the finished poppy stems.

There are also a couple of additional projects that are in the pipeline … still in negotiation … that we will announce in the new year (if not before),  along with actual dates for the AWM installation.

All is well.

2018 will be bigger than Ben Hur for both the PHQ team and those wonderful satellite teams existing and new that are working hard on getting us over the line.  This includes our Canberra team who have had to come up to speed very quickly with the amount of poppies that have been dropped at the AWM, and doing an amazing job under the Canberra Coordinator Ledy Rowe … but there are also many other individuals and groups who are working hard on our behalf all over Australia.

Canberra Team Coordinator Ledy Rowe

Have I mentioned how much  I love the connections that are being made everywhere under the umbrella of our wonderful little community project.

So … I will post news as it comes to hand … but a reminder that the team at PHQ will be taking an extended break over Christmas/New Year.  Our last poppy day will be 14 December and we will resume workshops on Tuesday 23 January.  It will be a much needed break for the team (and for me I must admit).

I will still be collecting mail occasionally during this time … but we will not be processing poppies until we return … so would be really grateful if you have poppies to share with us if you could send them in by last mail 8 December 2017 or hold over until week beginning 22 January 2018.

If you are Melbourne based (or even if you are not) we will have a Christmas lunch at PHQ on Thursday December 14 from 11.00 till 2.00 p.m.  Love to see you if you can make it.

 

 

 

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LEST WE FORGET

Good evening Team Poppy.

It’s Remembrance Day tomorrow … a solemn day when we have an opportunity to express our deep gratitude to our servicemen and women past and present for their service and sacrifice … and pay tribute also to their families and their wider communities.

These days, we wear our poppies not only as a symbol of remembrance of the fallen, but also as a symbol of our support for those who have chosen (or in the case of those who in the past have been conscripted) to serve their country … our country.

So … this week we have again created a most beautiful and moving tribute at Melbourne’s iconic Shrine of Remembrance.  As beautiful as it is … this is only one of many many other tributes that have been created throughout the world … created from our hearts, with love, and honour and respect.

If you could reflect on this post and pass on our message to anyone you know who is currently serving, or has served, or has suffered from the ongoing effects of their own service or their loved ones’ service …  it is why we are doing what we are doing …

This tribute is our gift to you.

Our way of saying thank you, and a poignant reminder of the depth of feeling from a grateful nation.

Your service will not be forgotten.

LEST WE FORGET

A huge thank you to Claire Takacs for the lovely early morning images.

 

 

 

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5000 Poppies at Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance

Good morning team Poppy …

It’s a huge day at 5000 Poppies today … this afternoon, we will be installing some 200,000 poppies at Melbourne’s iconic Shrine of Remembrance in a very moving tribute of love, honour and respect for our servicemen and women, past and present, their families and their communities.

This is what our lovely little community project is all about.

So we are feeling excited and privileged to be at the Shrine with all of your beautiful poppies … alongside the Menin Gate Buglers to commemorate the 99th anniversary of the end of WWI.  What a spectacular tribute it will make.

The poppies will be at the Shrine until Sunday afternoon 12 November.  Hope you get a chance to come down and see us.

 

 

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Remembrance Day 2017

As Remembrance Day 2017 is just around the corner, today I have been reflecting a lot on what it might have been like for our soldiers in 1917, “over there” so far from home, fighting for King and Country … in what would has been described by most as Hell on earth … heading into the bitter cold of a northern winter with little comfort, and by that stage of the War wondering if it was ever going to end.  And for many, it ended way too abruptly, never to return to homes and families … and for those who did return, life was forever changed … not just for them but for their families, their communities and our nation as a whole.

It’s hard to fathom from the comfort of my loungeroom, the scale of the loss of life and the misery of that terrible war and all the wars that have come since.

And I am feeling grateful for the service and sacrifice of all of our servicemen and women, their families and their communities.

So, this Remembrance Day, please show your respect by wearing your poppy with pride and gratitude, and, if you are so inclined … support your various veterans charities as best you can.

 

 

 

 

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