Sometimes my heart swells with so much pride … this was one of those times

Things have been achanging at PHQ.

The poppies have found a new home at the East Malvern RSL and it’s a fantastic space for us … and now my #1 Son, Evan, is about to fly the coop …

Evan came with us to Chelsea and it was the making of him.  I was (am) so proud of him … I loved watching him work with genuine enjoyment … we were all grateful for his strength and his willingness to pitch in wherever he was needed alongside the rest of the team … his interactions with the British public chatting with them about the project and handing out leaflets every day as they waited to see the display and so thankful for the way he cared for his mum.

He had a ball … as we all did … and as an added bonus he got up close and personal with Demi Moore!!!!!

New beginnings my gorgeous boy.

img_5007evan-at-chelseaevan-and-lynn-1evan-and-demi-moore evan-lynn-maryanne-at-chelsea-hospital evan-with-brendan-nelson-at-chelsea

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Planning Ahead

11/11/2018 will bring the end of the Centenary of  Anzac.  Four years of commemorating our brave Australian heroes from the last 100 years.

For 5000 Poppies which seems to have become a movement of sorts (it seems this amazing tribute has grown legs all over the world),  2018 in Australia will be the culmination, with a stunning final installation at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.  The AWM has been on our wish list from the beginning of the 5000 Poppies project and it’s fitting that Remembrance Day 2018 at the AWM is where our final installation will be.

Brendan Nelson

Have you listened to Dr Nelson’s speech from July last year … our small team was in France installing Fromelles when he gave this speech at the National Press Club … it was so moving … there was not a dry eye in the house. 

As with all of our installations this one will be different to the last one, which was different from the one before.  Bigger, bolder, but also much more accessible.  Phil, Kate and I have worked on a concept that will be incredibly beautiful in its simplicity.  Can’t say more until all the announcements are made but it’s very exciting for all of us.

It will take some pulling together, but I know that we are up to the task, as we have been up to the task many times before.  More news on that soon as well.

In the meantime, we are in urgent need of more poppies.  We have 50,000 poppies to deliver to the RSL by end April next year and that is our key focus for the moment …

img_6678remembrance-day-2013

Any pattern can be used as long as it is tightly knitted or crocheted maximum 9-10 cm and the rule of thumb is that if you would be proud to wear it then someone else will be too.  There are many beautiful patterns on the blog for you to choose from.  I particularly love Ing’s pattern (crochet) but the Chelsea patterns are also beautiful and quick.  Use your imagination for centres, buttons, flowers, whatever you would like … the more different centres, the better.  There will be workshops announced soon … these are always fun so keep your eye on the workshops page on the blog.  If you have a brooch pin or a standard pin, feel free to attach one to the back of your poppies, it saves the task being done by the RSL.

Marg and I cannot thank you enough for your continued support of our “little” project.  It continues to to remind us of the service and sacrifice of our servicemen and women, their families and communities, and the money raised by the sale of the RSL poppies will be used in the provision of much needed services to our veterans and their families.

On that note, Kate, Deb and I attended a couple of commemorative services in Ballarat last week.  The first one for the unveiling of the Garden of the Grieving Mother, a beautiful and poignant memorial to the mothers in particular, and families in general who have lost sons and daughters in war … the suffering at home was horrific for these families and their communities.  It was an emotional unveiling and a beautiful tribute.  We were grateful for the opportunity to attend.

grieving-motherThe second service was to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore.   … It was an honour to be there.  It is simply unfathomable to me as it is to all of us … the  sheer inhumanity that those brave souls … men and women … faced … And their battles did not end at the end of the war as we know …

LEST WE FORGET!

fall-of-singapore-commemorationWith love.

MyDeal.com.au
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Top 50 Influencer Awards

Good morning poppy friends. We have been invited to participate in this year’s Top 50 Influencer Awards (which is all about how we use social media to connect with our audience). We are entered in the main awards but also in the Social Media Queen category .. but we need your vote to win … so I am asking as many of you as possible to vote for us … we’d love to win. There is a cash element to the prize which is always very handy for a limited (no) budget community enterprise. It’s not difficult to vote … and to get all your friends to vote as well. We are VERY late entering so behind the eight ball already … with only 9 days left to vote … so … Please vote for us … here is the link http://www.mydeal.com.au/top50influencerawards/vote 

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2017 … and we are back at at it!!!

Good afternoon all … and welcome to 2017.

So that was Christmas and New Year done and dusted … I hope you had a wonderful break (if you managed) and some special time with family and friends.  I can’t quite believe how quickly the weeks are flying by already … I would love it to slow down a little but time waits for no man I guess (or woman).

We have had a wonderful couple of weeks break … weather notwithstanding,  and now we are slowly easing ourselves back into all things poppy.

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At this stage, we don’t have a huge year ahead for our poppies in 2017, although 2018 will be a whole other story.  However, we are grateful for a little respite …  because the last two years have been huge … so 2017 offers us a chance to consolidate before the big finale year in 2018.  We are still assessing how we can best employ this amazing asset this year, so that people get to see and enjoy.

We also still have work to do on the 80 nets post Chelsea.  We started this work late last year and have been thrilled to find that it is minor compared to the post Anzac Day 2015 upgrade … so we expect that it will be just a few months … and for the most part … this work is making them ready for 2018, so we have time.  The nets seem to have survived their moment on the world stage admirably (and proudly).

At this time we expect to be particularly busy as expected around Anzac Day and Remembrance Day this year,  and we are also planning to do a few smaller installations to support local commemorative activities throughout the year.  There will be more information to come on all of that once things are locked in.

First up though … is our commitment to make 50,000 lapel poppies for the RSL to sell as part of their 2018 Poppy Appeal … these will be our own “special edition” hand crafted poppies to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War I, and a wonderful way for all of us collectively to contribute to the ongoing wellbeing of current and former members of Australian and allied defence forces and their dependants.

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From the RSL website …

During the First World War, red poppies were among the first plants to bloom in the devastated battlefields of northern France and Belgium. In soldier’s folklore, the vivid red of the poppy came from the blood of their comrades soaking the ground, making the poppy symbolic of the bloodshed in trench warfare.

The Poppy was chosen as the emblem of remembrance after Canadian military physician, John McCrae wrote the moving and powerful poem In Flanders Fields. John McCrae is popularly believed to have written the poem on May 3rd 1915 after he witnessed the death of his 22 year old friend, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer the day prior. The poem was first published on December 8 of that year in the London based magazine, Punch. To this day, the poem remains one of the most memorable war poems ever written. It is a lasting legacy of the terrible battles of the Ypres salient in the spring of 1915.

Image result for poppy appeal logo

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
 
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
 
 John McCrae, 1915
 

So … the work has started, and while we haven’t done a formal count, we have already received around 2,000 brand new gorgeous poppies … and that’s a fantastic achievement. We are hoping to deliver at least 10,000 to the RSL in the first half of the this year just to get the ball rolling … the remainder will be delivered periodically throughout 2017 and into 2018 to allow time for the RSL to prepare for them sale … because the plan is that they will be packaged a little differently to the standard Poppy Appeal poppies.  We are so excited about the opportunity to contribute in this way, and we are certainly looking forward to getting as many people on board as we can.  What’s that saying … many hands … seems to be our mantra!!!

We are looking for small to medium, tight knit or crochet poppies .. around 9 cm in diameter.  Slightly larger is ok so long as they don’t “wilt”.  It would be very helpful if you could attach a pin to the back but if that’s not possible then it’s not a major problem, but the less post processing for the RSL the better.  If you go to the patterns page on the blog the Chelsea patterns are perfect and Ing’s poppy pattern is gorgeous but you can make just about any one of these poppies and it will work … the key is the tension … we don’t want them flopping.

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The RSL are hoping to raise $1 million from our contribution.  That’s a huge amount of money that will be put towards ongoing programs in support of our returned servicemen and women and their families … a noble cause and one I hope you will support with us.

I will be announcing a number of workshops over the next month in and around Melbourne, but we kicked off last Saturday with a workshop with the Mornington Peninsula 5000 Poppies team at the Mornington Library … a big thank you Judi McKinna for organising while Carol Copp is taking a break.  We had around 12 delightful women and there was lots of laughter and plenty of stories as always.  It was fantastic to see Margaret Halstead from Banbury England … who we met in Chelsea back in May.  She has been braving the changeable Melbourne weather on holiday in Australia with family, and we loved that she could join us.  She is a big part of our growing international Poppy Tribe and will continue to spread the message and the heartfelt remembrance connection when she goes back home.

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I will also be continuing our regular workshops in at Fed Square over the next 18 months … but there will be more – so keep your eye on the blog and the facebook page.

I would love it if you wanted to get on board as a champion in your local area … run workshops (get togethers) and arrange for delivery the poppies to us in Melbourne …

I love the way that women connect over craft in this way. It’s such a wonderful byproduct of working together on a project with such heart.

So more news later … but in the meantime … drag out those needles, crochet hooks and yarn and let’s get to it.

Lynn xxx

 

 

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Thank you … our Christmas message to you all

Good morning … and compliments of the season to you all.

It’s been quite a wild ride over the last 3 years plus for Marg and I … and it’s only really in the last week or so that we’ve actually taken a moment to sit back and reflect on what we’ve achieved.  The last two years in particular have flown by in the blink of an eye …

So we have put together this end of 2016 message for you … together with a bunch of images on YouTube so you can see the last couple of years in review.  I think this is the longest post I have written … so bear with me.

5000 Poppies 2013-2016 in Review from Lynn Berry on Vimeo.

See it also on YouTube 5000 Poppies … a pictorial review of the journey to date

Thank You

Firstly,  from the bottom of our hearts we want to thank all of you for your incredible commitment to our wonderful little community project … it’s been amazing … so many thousands of contributors along with so many angels who appeared to us at just the right time to make this happen … I call us collectively the Poppy Tribe.

So, not in any particular order … thank you to all of you who donated money to help cover our costs, all who donated space for us to work in, in particular Morris and Sons and the City of Melbourne (there were many others), all who made poppies and donated their valuable time, advice, contacts, and support … you know who you are and you know that we value each and every one of you.

A very special mention to the teams who went above and beyond to pull firstly the Fed Square installation together, and then came back to help us to pull the Chelsea stems and nets together … without all of you we would not have managed … It was worth every second … every splinter and every painful stabbing with the tagging guns – we’ve laughed, we’ve cried and we’ve shared a very special moment in time.  It’s been an honour and it’s not over yet!

Fed Square who were with us at the start the whole thing.

Our major sponsor for our sojourn to Chelsea … the Victorian Government through the Minister for Veterans Affairs John Eren and the Premier Daniel Andrews, together with our partners Qantas, Carpet Call and the Victorian RSL who got us there and home again.

The Australian Government through the Minister for Veterans Affairs Dan Tehan together with our lovely private benefactor and Neil Mitchell 3AW who found the money for us to get to Fromelles.

The amazing Phillip Johnson (our very own energiser bunny) and the unbelievable Vaughn Greenhill who made it all go so smoothly … along with the rest of the PJL team.

The incredible Ted Baillieu, our unofficial patron who loves this project as much as we do and who has supported, spruiked and cajoled on our behalf for the last three years.

The teams who volunteered in Chelsea and Fromelles … you are the most incredibly special people and to all those that weren’t able to come along but sat at home waiting in the middle of the night for updates … all I can say is wow!!!!

Every single one of those community organisations and individuals who collected, made poppies, ran workshops and sent us poppies … it was so much bigger than we expected and you did an amazing job.

Australian Country Spinners for the yarn for our stems … they looked amazing in Chelsea and especially in Fromelles.

All of those strangers who came out of nowhere to help us … including Paul Ritchie who secured the help of the MFB who saved us in Melbourne, and then found us a huge space at JAYCO Caravans to dry the nets … all the people who helped us to pull together the Fed Square install … Sue and Adrian Egglestone who designed and built Gratitude, the stunning sculpture that stood at the head of our display in Melbourne … the 60 plus people who turned up to help us with packup in Chelsea, our friend Chris Prior who secured the help of the French Rotarians from district 1520 who saved our bacon in Fromelles, and the gorgeous smiling Danielle Aurich who organised them for us … and who could forget Millie and her family … we feel humbled and blessed.

Neil Mitchell at 3AW, Graham Ross at Better Homes and Gardens, Nick McCallum at Channel 7, and the rest of the amazing media who shared our story far and wide.

David Brooks who fell in love with us in Chelsea and never left and has been doing a video chronicle of our journey ever since … looking forward to the movie David.

Sheena and Steve Waddell who temporarily stored our finished nets because we had simply run out of room in my house.

Marilyn Healy our team photographer who kept everyone engrossed with her amazing image diary.

Susan McDougall for organising our stemmed poppy teams … it was a stupendous effort!

The team at Four Colman Getty … Truda, Rosie and Arthur, and Kristoff at Zing for your quiet and efficient work behind the scenes.

Alexander Downer and his team at Australia House for hosting us in London … it was a VERY special moment for the whole team.

Claire Golding and her team at Tourism Victoria in London.

The Royal Horticultural Society and the Royal Hospital Chelsea … the images speak for themselves.

Taso Katsionis from AK-D Design for all his wonderful design work, support and advice.

Alex Makin and the team at Syneka Marketing who put together the video for our unsuccessful attempt at crowdfunding.  In the end we crowdfunded it privately and it worked a treat.

A special mention to our wonderful families and friends who have supported us all the way.

Kate for the bread!!!!

A huge thank you to our wonderful dads – Wal and Stan – who were and are our personal heroes … they would be so proud … if not a little bemused by all the fuss!!!!

There are many, many others who we could name … the list is absolutely endless … forgive us if we haven’t singled you out.

And finally, thank you most of all to those who are serving or have served, those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice, and particularly those whose service has changed their lives irrevocably, their families and their communities … we do not forget!!

We are all family now!

So … here are a few quite interesting bits and highlights for us

5000 poppies has been more than three years in the making with an estimated 50,000 contributors and one million plus woman and man hours … We are still going!!!

  • 300,000 plus poppies in total
  • 26,500 stems
  • 80 – 10m x 1m nets which we have worked on continuously for nearly two years
  • 12 – 2m x 1m nets which consist of felted, fabric and paper poppies
  • 6,000 poppies on strings

Major installations

  • Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show 2015 … 5000 stems
  • Fed Square Anzac Day Melbourne 2015 – 257,000 plus poppies
  • Princes Bridge Anzac Day Melbourne 2015 – 200,000 plus poppies
  • RHS Chelsea Flower Show London 2016 – approx 300,000 poppies (we lost count)
  • Centenary of the Battle of Fromelles France 2016 – approx 26,000 stems
  • The Spirit of Anzac Centenary Experience which has been touring Australia for the past two years … such a beautiful tribute

Our poppy makers are aged from 2 to 102 … we think that is amazing in itself … it has brought whole communities of poppy makers together.  There are many stories attached to the poppies and we are slowly uploading these to the blog.  It’s my Christmas wish that we get to have all of that completed early in 2017.

5000 poppies has been awarded best horticultural installation for 2016 by a country mile Graeme Ross 2GB  Click on the link for the entire interview with our Phil … skip to 56.40.

Ted Baillieu is on record as saying that 5000 Poppies is the most significant community art installations ever created in Australia. Click on the link for Ted’s interview with Graeme Ross.

We have been involved in many other smaller installations over the last three years, and there are also hundreds if not thousands of localised 5000 poppies inspired installations all over the world.

There have been countless favourite moments … spectacular community connections … and many new friendships formed.

Chelsea was huge.

There were 60 million viewers for the Chelsea display alone across all media.

It is the biggest display ever at the RHS Chelsea flower show (we’ve given them a headache I think).

It is also the first time the Flower Show has connected with the Royal Hospital in this way (they loved us and we loved them).

It’s the very first time all the Royal Family have visited any one stand at Chelsea (they were incredibly gracious), and it’s the first time Lynn and Marg have met Her Majesty (second time for Phillip).

The amazing British crowds, the celebrities who also visited and the fantastic British press welcomed us with open arms, and a huge willingness to wait patiently and with great humour to see us.

Verena Tucker and Sara Davies from the British knitting group Knitting for Victory made and planted 1200 stems of their own … we loved that.

Lynn did a speech at Australia house which she wrote in the taxi on the way there!!!

Marg is famous for her moment in the sun with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Kate won best photo award for her photo bomb with Prince Harry.

We thought our Tim was going to faint when he met Johnson Beharry (VC winner).

Prince Harry waved to the rest of the Poppy team who were in the bleachers … which was kinda spectacular.

Fromelles was amazing.  We are so grateful for the opportunity to be at Fromelles … the French locals, the local Rotary Clubs and the busloads of visitors … it was very humbling and we will never forget the early morning photoshoot with the full moon setting of one side, the mist over the fields and the dew on the poppies … I swear the spirits of our boys were with us that morning!

We are still making poppies here for the Victorian RSL who supported us in our campaign to get to Chelsea and Fromelles.  We are making 50,000 poppies to sell for the 2018 Poppy Appeal so please feel free to keep making.  We hope to raise between half a million and a million dollars for the RSL.  That’s VERY exciting.

We have a few smaller installations coming up in 2017 … but our last major installation at this stage is planned for the Australian War Memorial in Canberra and again we are working with Phillip to create something spectacular.

In closing, from our families to your families we wish you a very Merry Christmas, a safe and happy time with families and friends and a spectacular 2017.

With love … Lynn and Marg xx

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Our beautiful poppies have had a busy couple of weeks …

LEST WE FORGET

Remembrance is well and truly alive but it is changing … according to this article on Remembrance in the Digital Age by Historian Tom Sear Published in the Conversation.  Tom writes about how digital technology has changed the way we commemorate … that we are more connected than ever through social media and it allows us to share our thoughts, feelings, images, communal mourning in a more immediate way.

He writes … “While the rituals of Remembrance Day seem unchanging, in truth, they are being transformed in our contemporary connected culture. On the first Remembrance Day, people who had experienced World War I firsthand stood together in a single silence filled with private, personal memories of pain and loss. They knew the person next to them was doing the same, but not what was in their thoughts.

Today, the internet offers a chance to personalise our commemoration by choosing when, where and how we take part. We can listen to a recorded two minutes’ silence anytime. A selfie taken in a yoga studio and tagged #RemembranceDay is our modern day equivalent of standing still in the factory or the parlour. We are keen to be seen joining in, and can watch and respond in real time to how others are marking the occasion. Online chatter, and frequently debate about the meaning of war, breaks through the silence.”

Certainly in this period of intense Remembrance activity as the Centenary of Anzac (2014-2018)  and its attendant ceremonies and services play out in the various theatres … more and more people are finding their own way(s) to honour our servicemen and women for their service and sacrifice.

And so, it has been a busy couple of weeks for us at PHQ … we have had a lovely time with loaning out our babies for small and not so small installations around Melbourne.

Firstly … Moonee Valley Racing had a twilight race meet with a remembrance theme on 11 November.  Veterans and RSL members were given free entry and the RSL was busy selling poppies as part of their annual Poppy Appeal.  It was a fun night.  5000 Poppies helped in the pre-promotion of the evening with an installation on the course at Moonee Valley … with echoes of an iconic photo from post WWI.

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Photo from Herald Sun 2016

We were also involved in a fantastic installation down at the RAAF Airbase at Point Cook (Melbourne) in commemoration of the Centenary of the Australian Flying Corps.  Such an honour to be involved.

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Point Cook AFC Centenary 2016

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Point Cook AFC Centenary 2016

Our very own esteemed videographer David E Books Esq. made us a video of the day.  You can view it by clicking here.

There were countless other 5000 Poppies inspired installations over the Remembrance Day period … small and large … here are a few images.  Every one of these installation is a poignant reminder of those that sacrificed for us.

LEST WE FORGET

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Alexandra Club Melbourne 2016

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East Malvern RSL 2016

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Fiona Briggs Lowestoft England

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Library Install 2016 … no details

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Mooloolah Community Centre Qld 2016

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Gippsland Installation 2016 … no details

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National Vietnam Veterans Museum Cowes 2016 — Orange Poppies … beautiful

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Wal’s Battalion’s Memorial at the Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne 2016 in honour of Wal and Stan

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Kylie’s Respite Group 2016

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Tumby Bay SA Spin Stitch and Weave Installation 2016

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Middle East Service

Did you share your photo with us?

And so … we are still working here.  The poppies strings are being refined with the tags removed and the poppies sewn on … it makes such an amazing difference.

There is ongoing work on the nets although we have slowed down to take a deep breath for a few minutes.

Poppy making has begun again but we will step up the pace early next year so that we can supply 50,000 beautiful handmade gems to the RSL 2018 Poppy Appeal … that will be amazing … we hope to raise well in excess of half a million dollar through sales of our poppies alone.

Work continues on our plans for 2018 at the Australian War Memorial.  We are all very excited about it and plan to make it a fitting finale.

Lynn x

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We have not been idle …

So we have had a small break following what has been a massive three years of very hard work, but we have not been idle.  There is still so much to do before our grand finale at the Australian War Memorial in November 2018.

We have loaned some of our wonderful poppies to the Shire of Wyndham Library to support their current installation of Writing the War exhibition.  So, for those of you who would like to see some of the lovely felted, stitched and fancy poppies … City Life Plaza Library, Pacific Werribee Shopping Centre, Shop MM11, Level 1, Derrimut Road, Werribee until 12 November alongside some fantastic WWI memorabilia from the local RSL.  It looks amazing.

img_5594wyndhamNext step … We are also starting work tomorrow on rehabilitating the nets from their overseas workout.  Hoping that this will be minimal but won’t really know until we get them on the table.  And so it starts all over again …will post dates and details on the facebook group.

In November we will be loaning a selection of stringed and stemmed poppies as well as a few panels to the Point Cook Air Base to support the  Commemoration of the Centenary of the Australian Flying Corps at Point Cook.  These will not be on public display.

untitled-1point-cook untitled-2point-cookWe have also started work on stitching the string poppies … as opposed to tagging.  It’s quite a task …. but worth the effort when you see the result.

We are planning to do a catch up on Remembrance Day this year in Fed Square.  It may not be a formal activity but we are relaunching our poppy drive with a view to creating an additional 50,000 lapel poppies for the Victorian RSL for their 2018 Poppy Appeal.  That’s two years away and I think we can do it easily.  So dust off those crochet hooks and knitting needles, we need your help!!!!  And we are planning to raise well in excess of half a million dollars for the RSL … that would be amazing don’t you think?

And so, just in case you missed what we have achieved over the last few years … here is a visual reminder of a number of the major installations.  There were many, many more.  I never tire of these images.

IMG_0231_0802Remembrance Day 2013
Where it all started … the 14/32nd Australian Infantry Battallion memorial, Shrine of Remembrance Melbourne 2013 in honour of Wal and Stan.

IMG_0213_0783Our official launch installation at Federation Square in November 2013

_F5A1211Phil’s beautiful tribute garden at the Melbourne Flower and Garden Show in 2015

Fed Square Banner PicTHE stunning installation at Federation Square on Anzac Day 2015

anzac-day-march-2015The installation on Princes Bridge … what an honour watching all the marchers march past of tribute to them on Anzac Day 2015

_F5A3804-EditRHS Chelsea Flower Show 2106 … such an amazingly beautiful installation … seen by more than 60 million people all over the worldcobbers-fromelles-france-2016-3-photographer-claire-takacsFromelles France 2016 … the heart and soul … such an honour and a privilege.

It’s been an amazing journey and the journey continues.

Work to do!!!

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