In face of the current lockdown, community events which would have included a tea party for the young and old at the Memorial Hall, the unveiling of a wall of knitted and crochet poppies and an exhibition on the High Street have been postponed. However, organisers are still able to share their achievements including a red glove project with pupils of Ysgol Treferthyr.
In January organisers appealed to the community for volunteers to help us “paint the town red” to commemorate 75 years since VE Day by knitting and crocheting poppies.
Over 2,000 poppies have already been received and we have been promised a further 1,000 to date.
There is an extended deadline to submit poppies which will now include a rainbow of multi-coloured poppies in honour of the key workers. The poppies will eventually be displayed outside Criccieth Memorial Hall and we thank the many community groups and individuals who have already contributed from near and far. The support has been overwhelming.
Town councillor Ffion Gwyn has held workshops with pupils from the local primary school, Ysgol Treferthyr, combining art and drama.
The children created a short animation from symbols and expressive hand gestures created by using red gloves.
In addition to the exhibition, a sketchbook was purchased from an online auction, created by Harold Pickup and dated 1945. Little is known about the owner’s history, but it is believed that he originated from the Yorkshire area, and documented his visit to Criccieth in a series of watercolour and pencil sketches.
The current crisis and resulting lockdown and sketchbook by Harold Pickup from the 1940’s which includes watercolours and sketches of unnamed soldiers has also inspired Ffion Gwyn to paint a poignant portrait “Ffenest/Window” to mark the occasion.
It is very much a product of our strange times of social distancing and isolation. But it also carries us back to the second world war.
The medals and the gas mask on the shelf take the elderly man back to memories of the war. On the desk lies a new protective mask, part of what we have come to know as PPE.
This is a man rooted in his neighbourhood: he sits on an old farmhouse chair in front of a Welsh dresser; on the wall there are posters of Welsh poems evoking the spirit of his homeland.
But on the desk sits a modern PC on which we see the daily pandemic press conference of Welsh Government.
In one hand he holds a comforting mug of tea, in the other his i-phone, his contact with the world outside the window. For he is looking contemplatively out through the open window, watching the blue tit who can fly away at any moment whereas he must stay with his memories.
Cllr Robert Cadwalader, chair of Criccieth Town Council, said: “During the dark days of 1939-45 communities throughout the country pulled together including, of course, our own. We are again in difficult times and it is heartening to see the same. When this is all over and we return to normal life we must strive to maintain this spirit.”