ARTISTIC care home residents have created a giant heart and a stunning cascade of bright red poppies to mark Remembrance Sunday.
The six-metre long artwork is on full view at the main entrance to Pendine Park’s care homes at Summerhill on the outskirts of Wrexham.
Residents of Pendine’s Bryn Bella and Pen-y-Bryn care homes have been working on the touching tribute for six weeks during their regular art sessions.
It involved drawing, colouring and cutting out hundreds of paper poppies which have been treated to withstand the autumnal weather as the piece hangs majestically on a main wall outdoors.
Pendine Park Artist in Residence Sarah Edwards said the entire group had worked their socks off making the piece.
She said: “They really have put their hearts and souls into it. We wanted to do something extra special to commemorate Remembrance Day this year and they came up with many of the original ideas for creating the poppy wall art themselves.
“A number of our residents have late family members who fought in World War II and other more recent conflicts. Some have relatives still serving in the Forces and we all felt it was important to recognise the sacrifices which have been made for our country by their family members and by servicemen and women in general.”
Pendine Park will also be holding a short service and a minute’s silence over the weekend of Remembrance Day, also known as Poppy Day, on Friday, November 11.
On Remembrance Sunday, November 13, King Charles will lead national memorial ceremonies including the laying of poppy wreaths at the Cenotaph, London.
Sarah said: “Most of our residents won’t be able to attend official services around the nation but we wanted to pay our own tribute to honour all those who have given so much for our country over the years.
“I have been so overawed by the amount of work which they have all voluntarily put into this. They have worked non-stop, cutting out the paper hearts and coming up with ideas for decorative ways to display them.”
The arts crew worked on around a thousand hearts to create the piece and other small decorations.
Resident Emma Barber, who loves to attend the weekly arts and crafts sessions, came up with the suggestion of using chicken wire as a stable framework to attach the scores of paper hearts onto.
She said: “I have done lots of crafts in the past as I used to work with an after-school club years ago and we were always doing something creative. That’s why I love coming to Sarah’s crafts workshops, there’s always a great project to get stuck into. The poppies have been wonderful to work on.”
Emma even dressed in a blouse patterned with red poppies as she took part in the class.
She laughed: “I bought it from Asda about four years ago and I put it on for the art classes as I thought it would give me lots of inspiration.”
Sarah added: “We had tried lots of other ideas for making a framework for the poppy trail before Emma thought of chicken wire. It seems such a simple idea and I don’t know why we didn’t think of it before as it works fabulously. It is flexible and strong enough to hold the poppies without being too intrusive.”
Sarah said special praise must go to two other residents, Tony Ithell and Tracey Wilde, who contributed enormously to the project.
She said: “Between the two of them they made nearly all the poppies and green leaves for the giant heart centrepiece, including cutting them out, colouring and varnishing of all the individual flowers. They worked so hard on it.”
Tony has been a long-standing member of the arts group and he said it was of the recreational activities he most looked forward to at Pendine Park.
Tracey and another fellow resident Georg Ullman, delighted in having their photographs taken with some of their dazzling creations.
Georg added: “It looks fantastic and everyone will be able to see it as they arrive here.”
Residents, Sandra Swift and Sara Berhe, also enjoyed making a collection of indoor decorations, including and eye-catching table-top mini tree which is painted white and adorned with hanging poppies.
In addition, residents made artistic bright red paper poppy garlands and poppy wreaths. Included among them was a wreath of purple coloured poppies to commemorate animals who served in the World Wars and other conflicts.
Sarah said: “As well as the residents, we also had some fantastic assistance from our maintenance and gardening teams who helped us hang the artwork at the entranceway. All their hard work has certainly paid off. The poppy wall is just magnificent and already attracting lots of admiring glances and positive comments from visitors.”