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Poppy appeal inspires fundraising dress

Michelle Hawes models the poppy appeal dress
Michelle Hawes models the poppy appeal dress

A woman has created a dress adorned with 600 handmade poppies in aid of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

Sara Atkin, 39, spent more than 300 hours stretched over eight months making the dress.

The poppies, made from buttons and felt, were fastened to the dress so as to give the impression that they are falling to the ground.

Sara, of Cottesmore, said: “I make a few felt poppy brooches every year for the Poppy Appeal but this year wanted to do something more to highlight the work the organisation undertakes.

“I had an idea of what it would look like but it was not until it was I put the poppies on that I thought wow!

“It was something that I wanted to do. and I really enjoyed it”

Sara was helped in the brooch making by her friend Charlotte Towe, whose husband, is in the Royal Anglian Regiment.

There are three different types of button to represent each of the Armed Forces.

The dress itself was made from black organza which was donated by Croft Mill, in Lancashire.

To compliment the dress Rebecca Couture Millinery, in Oakham, made a hat similar to a mourning veil complete with a large poppy brooch.

Sara has visited the grave of her great, great uncle Corporal Charles Pinder, of the Manchester Regiment, 1/6 battalion.

He was killed aged just 21-years on September 29, 1918.

He is buried in Greviller’s British Cemetery, in Greviller, northern France.

Sara said: “I’ve visited the grave of my great great uncle in northern France, who was killed in action just six weeks before Armistice Day.

“To see the graves of so many young men and understand the enormity of the loss of life had a profound effect on me.”

The dress was previewed at the Great British Sewing Bee exhibition, in London, last weekend.

Sara said that there was a great deal of interest in the dress and that it received a great reception.

It is next to go on display in London from October 28, until November 11, as part of the Poppy Appeal.

After London Poppy Day on November 2, the brooches are to be sold with all of the money raised going to the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

Mark Bishop, community fundraiser, London Poppy Appeal, said: “We were delighted to hear from Sara and her story of the poppy dress and all the hard work that has gone into the project.

“We are lucky to have such dedication and support of this kind from the public and volunteers, and we will be promoting the dress in London during Remembrance.”

Sara is considering doing something else to help to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War next year.


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