A group of women in Criccieth have been hard at work contributing to ‘The Longest Yarn’ exhibition, which will be unveiled at Notre-Dame Cathedral, Carentan.

Working under the banner of the town council’s Cricieth Creadigol/Creative Criccieth projects, their work will feature on 28 May as part of the 80th commemoration of the D-Day landings in Normandy.

Criccieth’s Gown of Poppies, pictured here in the Memorial Hall in November 2020 will also go on display in Normandy
Criccieth’s Gown of Poppies, pictured here in the Memorial Hall in November 2020 will also go on display in Normandy (Picture supplied)

‘The Longest Yarn’ will be made from 80 one-metre panels portraying scenes for the D-Day Landings of 6 June, 1944 as the Allies invaded Nazi-held Europe.

The project is inspired led by Tansy Foster whose original thought was to yarn bomb her garden wall Normandy. However, when talking to others the idea evolved into work of 80 metres representing the 80 years and 80 days of the Battle of Normandy.

Eighty panels are being constructed around the world. Further information can be found at www.thelongestyarn.com/.

The casino at Ouistreham was chosen as Criccieth’s contribution because of links with the Kieffer commandos. These French soldiers spent 10 months training in Criccieth during 1942-43 specifically for seaborne landing. Having landed on French soil, the Kieffer commandos took the casino from the Germans before moving on to Amfreville-le-plain.

Margaret Rees who designed the panel said: “When I first saw Tansy Foster’s shout-out for volunteers to create 80 panels I knew I wanted to be part of this project. I was fairly sure others contributing to the work of Cricieth Creadigol/Creative Criccieth would like to be involved and I am glad to say that proved to be the case.

Kieffer commandos marching in Llanystumdwy 1942
Kieffer commandos marching in Llanystumdwy 1942 (Picture supplied)

“Our team worked on the panel for nine months and at least 2,000 hours. Together we had created previous projects so it was immediately obvious who would be the best person for each section.

“As usual the hard work was punctuated by plenty of laughter.

“It has been an honour to be part of ‘The Longest Yarn’ which has grown into a global phenomenon. The standard of the various panels has been mind-blowing and it has been a pleasure to interact with like-minded crafters in so many countries who have been willing to share advice and encouragement.

“I really look forward to meeting many of them at the unveiling in Carentan and when the exhibition comes to Llandudno.”

Pam Mayo who also worked on the panel said: “We came together with crafting skills but little knowledge of the Kieffer commandos and their role in liberating the casino. It’s been an experience that I have both enjoyed and found emotionally challenging.”

Also travelling to Normandy is Criccieth’s Gown of Poppies, one of the town council’s community lockdown projects in 2020.

The gown, which has a train of 5,000 community poppies will be displayed in a shop window in Carentan.

This is the second time for the gown to be on tour as it was displayed at the Senedd Cymru building in Cardiff Bay in November 2022 to coincide with Remembrance when it attracted 6,000 visitors, including the Prince of Wales.

Cllr Delyth Lloyd, Chair of Criccieth Town Council said: “We are very proud of the work that has gone in to this project to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day Landings.

“Many from our community were involved in the Second World War and it is appropriate to remember the sacrifices made. Over recent years we have held several poignant commemorations in Criccieth to remember those lost in both World Wars and whose names are recorded in Criccieth Memorial Hall.

“It is also very special that our Gown of Poppies will be displayed in Carentan.”

Cllr Lloyd added: “On 6 June we will hold community events in Criccieth to include a tea at the Memorial Hall and the lighting of a beacon on the promenade.”