Knitted poppy carpet rolled out at Remembrance Day Service in Aylesford

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Last Updated: 14 Nov 2017 11:27am

Tonbridge and Malling’s knitted poppy carpet, which now measures more than 18 metres, was rolled out at the Royal British Legion Industries’ Garden of Honour in Aylesford on Remembrance Sunday at a service to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives for their country.

More than 100 people gathered to pay their respects at the service including Leader of Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council Nicolas Heslop, who laid a wreath in honour of the fallen.

The poppy carpet was first unveiled at Tonbridge Castle on 27 October to mark the start of this year’s Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.  At that time, it contained more than 7,000 poppies and measured 11.11 metres in length but, due to an unprecedented last minute avalanche of a further 3,000 knitted poppies donated by the residents of Tonbridge and Malling (and others from further afield), the carpet has been extended with the kind help of a number of RBLI staff and volunteers, residents living on the Royal British Legion village in Aylesford and the Kent Army Cadet Force at Ditton.  All of the remaining poppies were attached to the carpet in time for the Remembrance Day service. The carpet was also seen at the Royal British Legion Industries’ Armistice Day Service on Friday 10th November.

The poppy carpet is the result of a project launched by Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council with support from the Royal British Legion and Kent County Council.  The project really captured the interest of local residents and community groups who donated in excess of 10,000 knitted, crocheted and fabric poppies for the campaign. The carpet was created to raise awareness of the work of the Royal British Legion at the start of their annual poppy appeal in 2017. Volunteers from the 2520 Tonbridge Squadron Royal Air Force Air Cadets, under the leadership of Pilot Officer Tom Bristow RAFVR(T), attached more than 7,000 poppies to the mesh backing to form the original 11.11 metres of carpet but it proved impossible to attach a further 3,000 last-minute donations in time for the launch event at Tonbridge Castle.

Leader, Nicolas Heslop said: “It was wonderful to see so many people at the Aylesford Remembrance Day Service.  The poppy is a symbol of both Remembrance and hope and having the knitted poppy carpet on display at the service was a fitting and moving tribute to those who gave their lives for our country.  The response to our knitted poppy campaign has been overwhelming and I was delighted to see the carpet rolled out, in its entirety, at the Service.  Many thanks to everyone who made the poppies and to the community group volunteers who attached them to form such a remarkable carpet of Remembrance.”