Each year, Remembrance Day is an opportunity to reflect on the servicemen and women who have lost their lives in war.
Red poppies have become an emblem of their sacrifice.
Torrens Grove Retirement Village resident Gwen Lawrence has found a unique way to use her love of knitting to support this important occasion, knitting hundreds of poppies to be used in Remembrance Day ceremonies across the country.
It’s not the first year Gwen has contributed her skills, but it’s certainly been the biggest. She has single-handedly knitted 950 poppies since January.
“I love knitting for a cause so I’m glad the poppies were put to good use, especially as this year marks 100 years since the end of World War I,” she said.
“Some of the poppies went to Melbourne to be used in a collage at Federation Square and some to Canberra.
“Any left over were going to be sold with the money going to the RSL.”
The village community backed Gwen’s efforts, with fellow residents donating wool or money, or even spending hours attaching pins so the poppies could be worn.
Others even took up their knitting needles to bring the poppy total to 1,500.
Their support is touching, Gwen says, given many of the residents at Torrens Grove have experienced war firsthand.
“A lot of people here, their husbands are returned soldiers,” she said.
“One lady never got to know her father because he died in battle when she was three years old.
“Many people of our generation have a special place in their heart for this day.
“I’d like to thank everyone who contributed wool, money or time—their support is very much appreciated.”
Before this year’s poppies were collected in early November, Gwen was already busy working on next year’s, although she’s modest about the impact of her efforts.
“Our country wouldn’t be what it is if not for these soldiers,” she said.
“Some of the stories you hear… we don’t appreciate what they did. We really take it for granted.
“I don’t do it for recognition—it’s just my little way of giving back.”