Olivia’s pop­pies also help job­less

Western Morning News (Saturday) - - Remembrance -

When seven-year-old Olivia Boon was asked by pho­tog­ra­pher Mike Als­ford to model one hun­dred metal pop­pies to mark the cen­te­nary of the end of the First World War she was quick to ac­cept.

Ever since she could walk, she proudly ac­com­pa­nied her grand­fa­ther, Peter “Smudge” Smith, to Ex­mouth’s war me­mo­rial to lay flow­ers on Re­mem­brance Sun­day. Sadly, Smudge died three years ago, but Olivia is de­ter­mined to keep up the fam­ily tra­di­tion to­mor­row.

Known to most peo­ple in the Devon sea­side town, Smudge was both a vet­eran of the Falk­lands War and, for many years, or­gan­iser of the an­nual Poppy Ap­peal. Olivia says she hopes to sell pop­pies as soon as she’s old enough. Her mum, Tammy, said: “Smudge was a very pop­u­lar fig­ure and ev­ery­one knew him. He ran the poppy ap­peal and ev­ery Novem­ber 11 he would lay a wreath with Olivia.”

The one hun­dred pop­pies be­ing mod­elled by Olivia on the cover of this sup­ple­ment were made in Ex­eter by mem­bers of Hid­den Gems, a so­cial en­ter­prise or­gan­i­sa­tion that works with long-term un­em­ployed and those strug­gling with men­tal health is­sues and al­co­hol and drug ad­dic­tion.

Project fa­cil­i­ta­tor Angie Holmes ex­plained that the flow­ers are made from a variety of re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als, in­clud­ing cop­per.

“One of the par­tic­i­pants came up with the idea of do­ing pop­pies and we con­tacted the Bri­tish Le­gion and they were keen to get in­volved,” she said. “The pop­pies sell for £10, with £4 go­ing to the Bri­tish Le­gion and £6 be­ing in­vested back into Hid­den Gems.”

So far the project has made and sold more than a thou­sand brooches, with par­tic­i­pants be­ing in­volved in each stage of the pro­duc­tion process, in­clud­ing de­sign, mak­ing, pack­ag­ing, box mak­ing and mar­ket­ing. For more de­tails visit edp.org.uk/hid­den-gems

Si­mon Parker

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