Wanaka Sun       

Heartfelt remembrance of WW1 soldiers

Posted at 6:16am Thursday 15 Nov, 2018 | By Allison McLean journalist@thewanakasun.co.nz


Nearly 200 locally made sweetheart pin cushions were on display at Pembroke Park last Sunday to offer locals and tourists alike a chance to honour the past. The community project sold one-third of the 198 hearts during the Centenary of World War One (WW1) Armistice Day commemoration with proceeds benefiting the Upper Clutha Returned Services' Association (RSA).

Through the sale of sewing packs and stitching workshops, Sweetheart Pin Cushion project coordinator Sue Bartlett, of Cardrona, enlisted the help of locals to create pin cushions in remembrance of soldiers from Upper Clutha who participated in WW1. Bartlett got the idea after purchasing an original sweetheart pin cushion made by a soldier in WW1 and found its history meaningful. When soldiers were injured and in recovery, they often took to sewing and designed decorative pin cushions to send to their loved ones.

More than 100m of hearts hung in alphabetical order throughout the day last Sunday allowing visitors to read the service person's name and biography listed on the back.

“From local street names, you would recognise fallen soldiers' names from old families on many of the hearts, some who lost all of their sons in WW1,” said Bartlett.

She said people read the stories and talked to one another about their own family memories and associations they had with the First World War.

“A young Englishman, who had served in Afghanistan, came through, saw the hearts and talked about how it was a hard day [Poppy Day] for him as he'd lost a lot of friends in Afghanistan. You could see his emotion and pain.  Here we were, 100 years on remembering the soldiers who fell in WW1, and I said to him that his mates wouldn't be forgotten either and they would continued to be remembered.”

Bartlett, a teacher at Queenstown Resort College, took a photo of each heart contribution with plans to include them within a photo book housed in her studio on Ballantyne Road. With a goal to create an annual community project, Bartlett said her 2019 focus may include honouring the 250th anniversary of the first formal meetings between Maori and Europeans.

Sweetheart pin cushion can still be purchased by emailing Bartlett at mojo.back.creative@gmail.com. All proceeds will go to RSA benefit fund.



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