Poppy event commemorates WWI at North Gower

Area library commemorates World War 1 with Canada-UK knitted poppy exchange

Kemptville Advance

ByJeff Mackey

A knitting group in North Gower is trying to keep the memory of the First World War alive with a cross-continental knitting exchange.

The exchange took place over the summer when Ann Burrt of the North Gower Nifty Knitters went to Totton, England with some Canadian knitted poppies and came back with some British knitted poppies.

“I was talking to my sister, who belongs to a knitting group with her local library in Totton, Southampton (in England),” said Burrt.

“One day she said she was knitting poppies with her group in commemoration of the hundredth anniversary of the start of the First Word War.”

“I thought it was a nice idea so I asked her to e-mail me the poppy pattern,” said Burrt. “I took the idea to the North Gower library and they thought it would be a nice project to do – and we thought we would set up a display at the end of July.”

The idea of an exchange between the two knitting groups was born and the library in North Gower was supportive of the idea of working into a First World War exhibit.

“So in May I went to visit my sister and to visit their library and knitters and took some poppies and photos to exchange with them,” said Burrt.

“I also brought poppies back and this is how it all came about.”

The exchange is important, said Burrt, because of the two countries’ shared history throughout the conflict.

“I just thought it was a nice exchange seeing how both the Canadians and the Brits were both involved in the First World War,” said Burrt.

On July 26 a display at the Library, featuring books on the First World War, war memorabilia and both British and Canadian knitted poppies were put together for public viewing. Minister of Parliament Pierre Poilievre was in attendance.

The poppies are about 4-5 inches in circumference and Burrt and six other nifty knitters had worked putting the collection together for about two months prior to the exchange.

“We have them sort of spread around the books about the First World War and I also made a wreath with all the knitted poppies on it,” said Burrt, who has volunteered with the library for over 20 years. Interestingly it is very difficult to tell which poppy comes from which country – probably because both knitting groups used the same patterns.

“I wouldn’t be able to say, ‘oh that is an English one or that is a Canadian one,'” said Burrt.

“They are all fairly similar.” Still, Burrt feels that the exhibit is important to mark the 100th anniversary of such a bloody and important war.

“I think a lot of people have forgotten and I also believe that teenagers, 20-yearolds, 40-year-olds – they don’t really know what went on,” said Burrt.

“There were thousands of Canadians who went overseas to fight in a war and they never returned.”

The exhibit is currently on display at the North Gower Library.

The North Gower Nifty Knitters are currently on hiatus, but they will resume meetings in the third week of September, anyone interested in joining should get in touch with the North Gower Library.

Link to the full article here.

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