Ripon to Unveil a Unique Full-Sized Knitted Churchill AVRE Tank in Commemoration of the 80th D-Day Anniversary

In an extraordinary tribute to the 80th anniversary of D-Day, the city of Ripon will showcase a full-sized, knitted replica of a Churchill AVRE tank, a project that intertwines the threads of history with the warmth of community spirit. 

Organised by the Ripon Community Poppy Project, the remarkable exhibit will be displayed across various locations in the city starting from the end of April, leading up to the D-Day anniversary on June 6th.

The preparation for the D Day tribute began 18 months ago, involving an estimated 70,500 hours of planning, knitting, and assembling. This includes the dedication of roughly 30 ladies from the Ripon ‘Knit and Natter’ group, who have collectively knitted approximately 1,860 squares, dedicating on average 2.5 hours per square.

These squares – each knitted in ‘olive drab’ wool – the authentic hue of the original Churchill tanks will envelop the life-size tank structure, which measures 24ft in length, 9ft in width, and 7ft in height.

Stuart Martin MBE, Chairman of the Ripon Community Poppy Project, shared insights into the project’s inception and execution: “We obtained the full-sized plans for the tank from Bovington Tank Museum. The scale of community involvement and support has been overwhelming, with significant donations of materials and time. This project truly reflects the unity and respect within our community for those who served during D-Day.”

The project has witnessed generous contributions from local businesses and organisations. With over £2,500 of timber and building materials supplied by MKM Ripon, laser cutting based on the original tank designs by Jennyruth workshop, support from Tates Nursery, and the loan of a Rubb Shelter to store and build the tank from Ripon Barracks. Calverts Carpets will supply the artificial grass for the tank to sit on whilst it’s out in the community and Ripon Men’s Shed – a Charity which aims to encourage people to come together to work on practical projects or to share and learn about craft skills – has helped to do all the cutting and putting together of the nine sections of the tank. 

“When Stuart comes knocking on your door, you just say yes.” commented Rob Taylor, MKM Ripon Branch Director. ”The community’s collaboration for this ambitious and respectful tribute showcases our collective homage to the bravery and sacrifice of D-Day veterans. It’s very special to be involved.” 

The D-Day anniversary will be marked by a special concert at Ripon Cathedral, with the knitted tank proudly on display outside. Jack Churchill, Sir Winston Churchill’s Great Grandson, will light a beacon as part of the national remembrance celebrations at 9.15pm. Attendees will have the opportunity to contribute to the Help for Heroes charity through donations.

Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/80th-anniversary-of-d-day-75th-anniversary-of-the-royal-engineers-concert-tickets-857865247047

This unique commemoration not only honours the memory of those who fought for freedom during D-Day but also showcases the incredible community spirit and creativity of Ripon. It stands as a testament to the power of collective effort and the enduring respect for history.

For more information about the Ripon D Day celebrations please contact Amy Greenwood, PR Director, Boutique PR & Marketing

077380 10121 / amy.greenwood1@gmail.com