VOLUNTEERS from Bridstow Spinners, Ross-on-Wye are up to their eyes in poppies this month as they busily string together piles of the textile flowers donated by thousands of knitters and fibre fans from all over the UK and abroad.

So far, 40,038 poppies have been sent in support of an appeal by Wonderwool Wales, the annual showcase of Welsh wool and natural fibres, which will be staging a massive, commemorative First World War installation at the Royal Welsh Showground, Builth Wells on April 28-29. Donated poppies will be strung together into a 'Curtain of Poppies' which will be displayed in Hall 3, where The Royal British Legion will have a stand and collect donations. The commemorative project, launched at the 2017 show, has encouraged today's community of knitters to recreate the united determination of the women at home during the First World War, who "did their bit" to support the troops overseas by knitting gloves, scarves, balaclavas and socks.

Curtain of Poppies organisers, mother and daughter Olwen and Jane Veevers are delighted at the way the project has caught the imagination of schools, knitting groups, craft groups and individuals.

Olwen, a coloured sheep breeder and needle felt artist who farms at Cross Ash near Abergavenny said: "The poppies are now coming in thick and fast – at a rate of about five parcels a day. Some of them are already strung together but we're also getting thousands that are unhitched. The Bridstow Spinners in Ross-on-Wye deserve a huge thank you. Not only have they helped us by making poppies, now several stalwarts are working furiously behind the scenes to sew thousands more onto cords!"

The current poppy count of 40,038 is being added to every day and organisers are continuing to accept the poppies until the end of March. Olwen said she had received parcels from all over the UK, Spain, Alaska and other parts of the US. "It has been amazing and quite humbling! We have also had so many notes from people; some of them have brought a tear to my eye," said Olwen, who is one of the organisers of Wonderwool Wales. "I hope to make a display of some of them alongside the curtain. One of my favourite notes was from a serving soldier, enclosing a beautiful embroidered felt poppy, who said she had never made anything else by hand in her whole life…"

Jane said: "A big thank you to everyone who has supported this project and to those of you who are still working on your poppies, please send them in as soon as you can! It would also be wonderful if as many of you as possible could come along to the show to see the result of your efforts."