Derbyshire: Sight Support Derbyshire

Supported by the Derbyshire Lives Through the First World War Project, Sight Support Derbyshire was awarded £9,700 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to embark on a project, called ‘100 Years And Still Serving’, to commemorate both the centenary of the First World War and 100 years since the start of the charity.

It involved around 30 of the charity’s blind and visually impaired members meeting regularly to research the history of the war through talks, visits to museums and the Staffordshire Regiment. In response to this, assisted by community arts organisation Spiral Arts, they worked together to create a piece of tactile artwork. The decorated banner made from three army blankets joined together with military brass buttons, was unveiled at a celebration event in South Normanton and went on to be displayed at locations throughout Derby.

Jenny Anthony from Spiral Arts, said: “We wanted to create a piece of work that everyone could take part in making. We wanted the banner to reflect World War One but not necessarily to be a war banner, and we were inspired by seeing and holding the embroidered postcards sent by soldiers to their families.

“We worked with each member to fully utilise their individual sight capabilities. With the young people, we focused on animals that were used in the war, or were mascots, such as monkeys, horses, sea lions and camels.”

The banner is decorated with embroidered postcards, felt animals and box-pleat pockets. Each pocket contains an artefact to examine by hand.