Beautiful Potton poppy stones help start conversations about wartime heroes

A kind-hearted artist from Potton has raised an impressive £1,605 for the Royal British Legion thanks to her community poppy project.

Gemma Grubb, 32, who works in Lloyd’s, Biggleswade, designed beautiful poppy rocks which were hidden around the village for residents to find and take to the war memorial to mark Remembrance Sunday.

The painted stones had a message on the back asking families to place the rocks there, while Gemma also sold the stones and gifted some to shops so they could offer them in exchange for charity donations.

Gemma said: “I wanted to do it because I knew it had been a hard year for charities - working in a bank you see first hand that charities and people are struggling.

Photos: Gemma, Jack and Ruby at Potton war memorial; the blue tit design; 100th birthday poppy stone commissions. Visit ‘Forest Life Artwork by Gemma’ on Facebook to view more of her creations.

“With the poppy appeal, I thought that it was important that we celebrate the heroes of the pandemic, as well as the heroes of the past.”

During 2020, Gemma has also started her own business called Forest Life Artwork by Gemma after being inspired to start painting to help a friend’s project, which involved making a snake - ‘a Covid Cobra’ out of rocks.

Gemma soon rekindled her school talent for art and began selling beautiful stones with images of wildlife on them.

Gemma added: “A blue tit came into the garden and my little girl asked if I could paint one onto the rock. It was always a strong subject of mine.”

Gemma, Ruby and Jack.

Gemma’s children Jack, seven, and Ruby, five, enjoyed hiding the poppy rocks with Gemma, which helped them to learn about the world wars.

Gemma added: “I was chuffed. There were about 100 hidden and about 40 on the memorial. I heard that finding the rocks led to conversations with children as to what they signified. My son and daughter will never know anyone who has been in the Second World War. I want them to appreciate the sacrifices that were made so that we could live the lives that we do.”

> Gemma would like to thank Lloyds, the Post Office, and Tysoe’s who donated £500, £440 and £130 respectively.

The blue tit design.
100th birthday commissions