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Colwood resident spins 100 crocheted poppies, fills tree with remembrances

Neighbours, community members invited to leave remembrances on a second adjacent tree
This tree on Sparrowhawk Avenue in Royal Bay was decorated with handmade poppies created by Diedre Moran for Remembrance Day. (Photo courtesy Deidre Moran)

Symbols for veterans’ remembrance may have emerged from Flanders in Belgium.

But closer to home, 100 flowers came from the spinning hands of Royal Bay resident Diedre Moran, whose crocheted poppies now line a tree on Sparrowhawk Avenue in the lead-up to Remembrance Day.

The retired accountant calculated the time needed and completed the labour of crocheting one-and-a-half red, black and yellow remembrance poppies per day since she began her project in mid-September – “one for each of the years poppies have been a symbol of remembrance in Canada,” she said in a Facebook post.

They line one tree on her Colwood sidewalk, while a second tree features various “remembrances” brought by neighbours and members of the community.

“I’ve been playing with yarn and fibre for many years and thought it would be a good medium for a similar project,” said Moran, a self-described “active person” who finished the project in the third week of October.

Despite her calculated pace, she was able to finish as many as five poppies in a day. “I’ve been crocheting and knitting a long time, so it wasn’t that onerous. Over a while (the numbers) became a bit much,” she said in an interview. “But I was determined to get it done.”

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The added significance of both memorial trees comes with its acknowledgement of recent and continued military service. Several contributors and younger Island residents Moran has spoken with remember Canada’s conflict in the Middle East more than most.

“I wanted to make sure people understood that this isn’t just about old wars. Although that’s important, it’s also relevant for today,” she said. “Not only have we (recently) lost people from Vancouver Island, but we continue to have people who serve us in the military and as Canadians.”

She encouraged people to make contributions to the Royal Canadian Legion through its annual poppy fundraiser, which she said go a long way to helping surviving veterans and active service people.

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