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Friends of Buxton Station turn trashed poppies into recycled tributes

The Buxton Baublers putting the finishing touches to their artwork.

The Friends of Buxton Station (FoBS) have saved around 1,500 old poppy wreaths from heading to landfill by repurposing them for a special art project tribute.

When FoBS first came across the old wreaths, they asked High Peak Borough Council if they could do something with them. The Council were more than happy to help and work with the group, as the poppies used in the wreath construction could not be recycled like the pin-type paper poppies, as they were made out of a different material.

Aware of the possible upset to people who had donated the Remembrance wreaths, the volunteers agreed that they would only be used in a respectful art project, complementing the poppies’ original purpose. FoBS asked around and found willing partners in Buxton Town Team, who have a group of fellow volunteers, The Baublers, specialising in adorning the town with homemade Christmas decorations.

Around 1,500 poppies were taken in by FoBS, who separated them from the damaged plastic wreath bodies. The poppies were handed over to The Baublers, who stitched, glued and strung them together to form a special tribute to The Poppy Factory, as it celebrated its centenary.

The Poppy Factory is a charity that was created in 1922 to employ wounded Soldiers returning from the First World War.  They make remembrance wreaths for the Royal British Legion that are sold to support the annual Poppy Appeal, which in turn supports members of the armed forces in need.

The ‘Poppy Factory at 100’ installation. Photo credit: Mike Dawson.

Dave Carlisle, Chairman of FoBS, said: “We didn’t like the idea that these tributes to those who died in conflict were simply chucked away. We asked lots of questions and found out that they were different from the paper poppies that can be recycled.

“We have petitioned the Royal British Legion about this, and they tell us that they are working towards all poppies being recyclable. Our collaborative project has made something wonderful out of something destined for the tip.”

Tina Heathcote, one of the Baublers’ Coordinators, said: “Special mention goes to all the people who have knitted poppies to go alongside the silky recycled ones as Buxton’s contribution to remembrance. A lot of people have proudly dedicated time to make this tribute very special and memorable.”

Dan Hodges, The Poppy Factory’s Senior Communications Manager, said: “Thank you Buxton for your support for The Poppy Factory in our centenary year. It’s great to know that our work as a charity has such support.”

The resultant display features centrally on The Slopes, near to the War Memorial in Buxton.

Keep up to date with the projects and events from FoBS via their Facebook page.