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Full-size knitted tank to be unveiled in Ripon today

A full-size knitted tank is being unveiled in Ripon.

A full-size knitted tank is set to be unveiled in Ripon today (Tuesday) to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

The knitted replica Churchill AVRE tank will be rolled out at various locations in the city, leading up to the D-Day anniversary on June 6th.

The project has been organised by Ripon Community Poppy Project. 

Preparation for the D Day tribute began 18 months ago, involving an estimated 70,500 hours of planning, knitting, and assembling. 

This includes the dedication of roughly 30 ladies from the Ripon ‘Knit and Natter’ group, who have collectively knitted approximately 1,860 squares, dedicating on average 2.5 hours per square.

These squares – each knitted in ‘olive drab’ wool – the authentic hue of the original Churchill tanks will envelop the life-size tank structure, which measures 24ft in length, 9ft in width, and 7ft in height.

Stuart Martin MBE, Chairman of the Ripon Community Poppy Project, said:

“We obtained the full-sized plans for the tank from Bovington Tank Museum. 

“The scale of community involvement and support has been overwhelming, with significant donations of materials and time. 

“This project truly reflects the unity and respect within our community for those who served during D-Day.”

The project has seen generous contributions from local businesses and organisations. 

Over £2,500 of timber and building materials were supplied by MKM Ripon, laser-cutting based on the original tank designs by Jennyruth workshop, support from Tates Nursery, and the loan of a Rubb Shelter to store and build the tank from Ripon Barracks. 

Calverts Carpets will supply the artificial grass for the tank to sit on whilst it’s out in the community. And Ripon Men’s Shed - a charity which aims to encourage people to come together to work on practical projects or to share and learn about craft skills – has helped to do all the cutting and putting together of the nine sections of the tank. 

Rob Taylor, MKM Ripon Branch Director, said:

“When Stuart comes knocking on your door, you just say yes. 

”The community's collaboration for this ambitious and respectful tribute showcases our collective homage to the bravery and sacrifice of D-Day veterans.

"It’s very special to be involved.”

The D-Day anniversary will be marked by a special concert at Ripon Cathedral, with the knitted tank proudly on display outside. 

Jack Churchill, Sir Winston Churchill’s Great Grandson, will light a beacon as part of the national remembrance celebrations at 9.15pm. 

Attendees will have the opportunity to contribute to the Help for Heroes charity through donations.

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