What began as a small personal tribute by two Australian women to honour their fathers who both fought in World War II, has become an international tribute of respect and remembrance to those who have served their country in all wars, conflicts and peacekeeping operations.
Lynn Berry and Margaret Knight set out to crochet a humble 120 poppies to “plant” at the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne Australia for Remembrance Day in 2013 in honour of their fathers Wal Beasley (14/32nd Battalion – Australian Imperial Forces) and Stan Knight (Queen’s Own West Kent Regiment – British Army).
It was this simple tribute of love and honour that sparked a massive community outpouring with an estimated 50,000 plus contributors to the project and hundreds of smaller localised installations throughout Australia, New Zealand and beyond.
More than 300,000 beautiful handcrafted poppies have been contributed from all over the world. Contributors include children as young as two, right through to people aged 102, and from many different backgrounds and cultures.
Acclaimed Landscape Designer Phillip Johnson’s spectacular design on the steps of Melbourne’s Federation Square and on Princes Bridge for Anzac Day 2015 provided an emotional backdrop for Melbourne’s Centenary of Anzac commemorations. The magnificent installation was seen around the world.
Phillip’s simple, elegant design for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show promises to be a major highlight, with more than 12,500 sq ft of handcrafted poppies on show extending into the gardens of the Royal Chelsea Hospital. 26,000 additional stemmed poppies have been created specifically for the Show, including 1200 stems contributed by women from the UK community knitting group “Knitting for Victory”.
5000 Poppies has been a three year labour of love for many thousands of people. The project has been well over half a million hours of volunteer labour in the making, and is a stunning acknowledgement of the service and sacrifice of our servicemen and women, their families and their communities.
Our major sponsor, the Victorian Government must be congratulated for its vision in providing the funding to enable us to take the entire installation to Chelsea. This is not a small undertaking and without a significant grant through the Department of Veterans Affairs, Chelsea would still be just a dream for us.
Our official carrier Qantas will fly the entire installation plus the team to London. The estimated load is 35 cubic metres of poppies – approx. half the cargo hold of an A3 Airbus. Setup will take three days with a core team of seven and at least 10 additional volunteers from Melbourne and the UK.
We also have a number of key supporters who have provided much needed assistance throughout the project.
We are incredibly grateful to RSL Victoria who are also right behind the project with a significant grant.Carpet Call Australia is donating approx 300 sq metres of beautiful red carpet for the centre of the installation … one we live in hope that the Queen will do us the honour of walking on.
And we also owe a huge debt of gratitude to our graphic designer who has been unstinting in his support for the project from day one … with our logo and all of our marketing collateral. Taso you are a genius and you have done and continue to do an amazing job for us.
Postal address : 5000 Poppies, P.O. Box 115, Ashburton 3147
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