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HMS Sutherland sailor turns ammo into fundraising poppies for Remembrance

Some of the poppies crafted from used shells by PO Andy Kirkaldy
26 October 2020
A sailor from HMS Sutherland has turned weapons of war into hundreds of poppies of peace to help veterans during Remembrance.

Over the past three months, Petty Officer Andy Kirkaldy has made use of all his spare time aboard the Plymouth-based frigate to craft unique poppies for his shipmates – raising money for the Royal British Legion in the process.

Andy, who is responsible for maintaining Sutherland’s missile systems, has raised nearly £1,000 for the Legion – far more than he expected when he began crafting the small brass badges in the summer.

The 35-year-old, originally from Helensburgh on the Clyde, is from a naval family – he’s followed his dad and sister into the Senior Service – and wanted to use his combined engineering and artistic skills to good effect.

This which was once used for war is now used to remember

Petty Officer Andy Kirkaldy, HMS Sutherland

There are plenty of brass shell casings left from Sutherland’s regular gunnery shoots during her patrols around the UK – she returned home to Plymouth on Friday to begin a lengthy refit – which planted a ‘swords to ploughshares’ idea in the sailor’s mind.

Or as Andy puts it: “This which was once used for war is now used to remember.”

The senior rating, who has served for the past 14 years, continued: “I decided to make as many poppies as I could for my ships company to raise money for the RBL – 233 in all.

“I made four different types: red with a black centre, red with a brass centre, polished brass and original brass marked with the cordite burning from the inside of the shell.”

Each poppy takes 20-30 minutes to hand cut, file and assemble, while the different finishes vary on how much longer each one takes.

Hoping to raise £750, he’s already over £950. Unfortunately due to the nature of the materials they’re made of, his unique poppies cannot be sold to the general public.

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