Charity donates poppy silks for county-wide art initiative
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) is calling for local schools to take part in a charity project to raise awareness and celebrate the work of the British Armed Forces.
UCLan is working with the Armed Forces Group on the Preston Poppies project in the build up to Armed Forces Day on 25 June. Veterans’ charity The Poppy Factory has donated a mile of poppy silks to the project for local school children to turn into butterflies that will feature in an art installation at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery later this month.
Children from Weeton County Primary School and Holy Family Catholic Primary School in Ingol have already made their own contributions with more Lancashire schools already lined up to take part. The UCLan Centre for Volunteering and Community Leadership (CVCL), which is running the initiative, is keen to work with more schools from the county to get as many children involved as possible. The schools are raising funds for five charities involved in the project; Armed Forces Group, Dig In, Brick, Lancashire Infantry Museum and The Poppy Factory and it is estimated that almost 2,000 young people will have contributed to the art installation by the time it is finished.
We wanted to emphasise the importance of the work of our armed forces, veterans and their families in an accessible way that captures the imagination of all generations involved alongside raising awareness of and funds for the charities that support them.
CVCL Volunteer Support Officer Becky Steel who is organising Preston Poppies commented: "We wanted to emphasise the importance of the work of our armed forces, veterans and their families in accessible way that captures the imagination of all generations involved alongside raising awareness of and funds for the charities that support them.
"Preston Poppies project is celebration of our armed forces and their families who give up so much to serve. As part of the school visits we’re incorporating show and tell sessions with Lancashire Infantry Museum, bringing military objects in for the children to interact with and the history they learn about in the classroom to life.”
Holy Family Catholic Primary School pupil Lincoln Higham, aged five, completed the first butterfly of the exhibition. He said: “I’m doing my butterfly like a rainbow so it’s got happy colours on it. I like painting, this is awesome.”
Classmate six-year-old Lola Edgar said: “I’m doing my butterfly for my daddy. When I was little, my daddy was in the army for a long time. My favourite bit was putting lots of glitter on my butterfly to make it all sparkly.”
School children were keen to get involved
Raising the awareness of military charities in this way is fabulous, as it's been so much fun for the children too. It's been great to see several charities working together with schools and organisations to create something different and special.
Chair of the Armed Forces Group Jacky Hohol commented: “I was offered the poppy silks by the Poppy Factory to see if I knew of any organisations who would like to do something creative with them. A short phone call to Becky at UCLan set the ball rolling and the project quickly grew arms and legs. Raising the awareness of military charities in this way is fabulous, as it's been so much fun for the children too. It's been great to see several charities working together with schools and organisations to create something different and special for the community.”
The final piece of art will be unveiled at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery on Friday 17 June at 1.00pm and will stay on display until 27 June. This will be followed by a 1940’s style NAAFI (Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes) Tea Party on Saturday 25 June at the Old Post Office in Preston which all members of the community are invited to.
Preston Poppies is a partnership between UCLan, the five charities, The Harris Museum & Art Gallery and Preston Remembers and is sponsored by Preston Remembers and Remec Engineering Services.