Yorkshire community group knits incredible life-sized tank to commemorate 80th anniversary of D-Day

A community group has knitted a life-sized tank to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Around 30 volunteers spent eight hours a day for nine months knitting eight-inch squares for the artwork, which was modelled on a Churchill AVRE tank. The stunning creation is now a whopping 24ft (7.3cm) wide and 7ft (2.1m) tall and is covered in the olive green squares that the volunteers knitted.

Organiser Stuart Martin, 67, says knitters from the Ripon Community Poppy Project originally planned to create a smaller, scaled down model but changed their mind.

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He said: "We wanted to do something that will bring attention and extra footfall into our city to try and help businesses. So then we came up with the idea of the knitted tank - the original idea was to do a scaled down model and put it on the back of a trailer.

A group of volunteers have knitted a life-sized tank to commemorate D-Day.A group of volunteers have knitted a life-sized tank to commemorate D-Day.
A group of volunteers have knitted a life-sized tank to commemorate D-Day.

"But we saw someone on Facebook do one and it didn't look as impactful as I wanted it to. We then realised that a full-sized Churchill tank would be 24ft long so we decided to do that and then had to work out all the logistics of it."

Stuart and his team of volunteers started building the tank by cutting out the shape out of plywood and then covered it with netting. This allowed the knitters to then sew eight-inch squares of an olive-coloured fabric together, which then went onto the tank.

Stuart, who created the community group with Hazel Barker and Carol Dunkley said: "So many people and businesses have come out and helped us. This was just an idea in my head but they've made it a reality.

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"It's not about us as individuals, but it's about the community is together. It's also about D Day because we wouldn't have the freedom that we've got today, if those guys didn't do what they did."

The tank is currently being stored at the Claro army barracks in Ripon, but will be displayed at various outdoor locations in the city from April 30.

Stuart, who was awarded a MBE for services to Ripon in 2010, said: "The community have really got behind us. The tank will be launched at 11am at the Rippon Inn and then it move to F Tate and Sons nursery who have been really supportive to us. We are hoping this will bring some extra trade into these businesses."

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