Crafters top postboxes with poignant Remembrance Day tributes in Hertfordshire

Undated handout photo of a 'postbox topper' made by crafting group, Yarn Bomb Hemel Hempstead for Remembrance Day 2023.
Credit: Yarn Bomb Hemel Hempstead
Crafted creations on top of postboxes

Crafters have commemorated Remembrance Day by adorning postboxes with poignant knitted and crocheted tributes which include planes, soldiers and poppies.

People from Yarn Bomb Hemel Hempstead – which has more than 900 members, 30 of whom are active – have put up roughly 35 toppers – both old and new – to pay their respects to those who served.

Christine Allsopp, one of the organisers of the group, alongside Paula Wright and Annette Simons, said this would be the group’s sixth year marking the remembrance period, with everything from planes and soldiers to tanks being replicated in knitted and crocheted form.

“There are a few people whose fathers or grandfathers have served in the Armed Forces,” the 62-year-old said.

A tank regiment postbox topper Credit: Yarn Bomb Hemel Hempstead/PA

“The year before last we started doing toppers for regiments, so we have one topper which is the three paratroopers.

“My son was a Royal Marine for 10 years, so we’ve got one topper that has got the Royal Marines on it.

Some toppers have photos of family members on them Credit: Yarn Bomb Hemel Hempstead/PA

“We’ve got Irish Guards, we’ve got the Royal Scots.

“One lady called Margaret felt that we had a lot of men represented so she made figures representing the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, the Women’s Royal Naval Service and Auxiliary Territorial Service.”

A Land Girls topper made by the group Credit: Yarn Bomb Hemel Hempstead/PA

She said that for the Land Girls topper, someone attached a picture of their “nan”, who was a Land Girl.

She added many people had left “lovely” comments about the toppers on social media and when they were being put out, people would stop and talk to the group and people in cars would stick their thumbs up.

One of the group’s imaginative postbox toppers Credit: Yarn Bomb Hemel Hempstead/PA

It took the crafters two weeks to put up all the toppers and they have also decorated around the area’s war memorial and wrapped trees with both red and purple poppies, with the latter paying respect to animals involved in war.

They are aiming to sell the poppies to raise funds for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

The group has also made purple poppies commemorating animals in war, as well as red ones Credit: Yarn Bomb Hemel Hempstead/PA

Caroline Lord, who is based in Raunds, Northamptonshire, spent more than 50 hours creating her remembrance topper, which features a Spitfire and poppies, inspired by her father who is an ex-services man.

The 48-year-old who is an artist and mature student, currently studying for her computer science degree with the Open University, said: "My father Terry O’Donovan, aged 75, is an ex-serviceman who served in the RAF both overseas and in the UK.

Caroline Lord’s finished topper Credit: Caroline Lord/PA

“He is also a member of the Royal British Legion and the RAFA [RAF Association].

“When we were younger, my brother and I were both RAF cadets and they are times that I remember with much fondness.”

Speaking about how she picked the design, she said: “I had chosen the Spitfire as an iconic symbol of the RAF and the sacrifices made by the members of their forces.

“It’s also my favourite plane and one that is uniquely recognisable.”

Caroline Lord said the Spitfire is her favourite plane Credit: Caroline Lord/PA

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