Peggy's hooked on supporting war vets
FROM woollen poppies to exquisite Anzac-inspired jewellery, ordinary Queenslanders are finding innovative ways to raise money for veterans and their families.
Rolleston's Peggy Smith and Blackwater's Mary Anderson are selling up a storm on board the five-day Anzac troop train re-enactment as it steams across rural and regional Queensland this week.
Perhaps it is because they have a captive audience with just under 300 passengers and crew taking the journey on the historic coal-powered steam train.
Or maybe it is because the women have hit on ideas that simply catch the imagination of people touched by war.
Ms Smith, who helps run an earthmoving business with her husband Ross, has been crocheting intricate red and black poppies for the past few months.
The 52-year-old mother of two has been inundated with offers to buy the poppies this week.
At $5 a pop, the little tributes will help the RSL provide support for veterans and their families.
"I sold about 30 yesterday," she said on Wednesday.
Ms Smith, who has a backlog of orders for her creations, said it took about 90 minutes to crochet the poppies, which are about 4cm wide and feature deep red petals and a black centre.
"It's always important to find new ways to raise money," she said.
"With the mining boom that we had in these areas communities and groups did get used to getting a little bit of mining money and now that some of that is not there we have to go back to the old ways of raising money and just think about what will work.
"Poppies themselves are not ever going to be just a fundraiser - they're also about awareness."
Mr Anderson, 65, spent a year in the Medical Corps during the Vietnam War.
Between them, the Andersons have eight great uncles, a cousin, three uncles and a brother who faced enemies on the battle zones across two world wars and in Vietnam.
This distinguished pedigree drives Mrs Anderson, 61, to help maintain memorials and provide support for veterans.
A recent trip to Western Australia ended in a stroke of brilliance for the 61-year-old.
She discovered some creations by Victorian outfit Bushprints Jewellery.
Owner Gary Barnes committed to designing two silver pendants - one featuring the poppy and the other a slouch hat.
The pendants are on a silver chain and there are earrings and a dress-pin.
The $30-$65 jewels are proving popular.
Mrs Anderson sold 50 in the first few days of the troop train journey, raising at least $2500 and has orders for more.
"People are responding quite well," she said.
"They're saying it is simple but effective.
"It's 100 years since the First World War so some of the cenotaphs need restoring, each new war needs to have plaques put on with people who served and because we're aging we will be need RSL care and so the money can be put towards this."
- APN NEWSDESK