Sweetheart pincushions to honour soldiers

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A project to honour soldiers from Upper Clutha who participated in World War 1 is nearing completion.

Sue Bartlett, of Cardrona, has been bringing people together throughout the year to sew heart-shaped pincushions.

“There is one heart for every person that served from the Upper Clutha district.”

The 198 pincushions will be strung up at head-height in Pembroke Park on Armistice Day, November 11.

Information about each soldier would be shown on the back of the hearts, and soldiers who were killed in action would be represented by the addition of a cross at the bottom of the heart, Mrs Bartlett said.

“Queen Victoria actually got them interested because she was a bit of a needleworker.”

Packs with fabric and sewing needles were sent to soldiers in hospital as a form of rehabilitation.

“So when they were injured and recovering it was something to keep their hands busy.”

The heart-shaped pincushions were then given by soldiers to their loved ones, Mrs Bartlett said.

Local community members had contributed to the project.

The project had a personal aspect for Mrs Bartlett.

“My dad was a child in Holland when the German troops invaded, and shortly after the end of the war he came out to New Zealand, so if things had turned out differently I wouldn’t be here today.”

The aim was for people to the remember the efforts soldiers made 100 years ago, she said.

“People will be able to wander along that 60m walk and reflect on the sacrifice that those people made for us.”