Olivia’s poppies also help jobless
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