Town near Hawkesbury knits 16,000 poppies in tribute to fallen Canadian soldier
In a breathtaking display, hand-knitted poppies decorate a Hawkesbury church to honour a local solider killed 10 years ago in Afghanistan.
Corporal Patrick Lormand was just 21-years-old when the armoured vehicle he was riding in was struck by an improvised explosive device southeast of Kandahar city.
Lormand was from the village of Chute-à-Blondeau, in Hawkesbury, Ontario.
“You just see your brother on the television, and it just sort of hits you,” said brother Andre Lormand
“Time can make it easier but I don’t think you can ever heal.”
Lormand’s death as Canada’s 130th soldier to die in the war-torn country made national headlines. It would be months before Lormand’s mother Sylvie Villeneuve could begin grieving.
“We didn’t have the time to think, it was going too fast,” said Villeneuve through tears.
“As the years go on, we have more time now, and each day, we always think about it.”
A special Remembrance Day ceremony was held with a Sunday mass at St-Joachim Roman Catholic Church in Chute-à-Blondeau.
The church was decorated with 16,338 poppies in honour of the anniversary of Lormand’s death.
Lucie Gambuto is part of a group of local women, known as the Cercle des fermières, who knitted and crocheted 16,338 the poppies.
“One was like I knitted 50, and then 250 poppies,” said Gambuto.
“We added up every week and it went on and on and on.”
555 knitted poppies were distributed for donations that will go towards the Royal Canadian Legion Poppy Fund.
The massive effort took 9 months, with the project beginning in January, but honouring Lormand was always the focus.
“We talked about him the whole year,” said Gambuto.
“You think of those persons and you just love them even more than before.”
“Part of my life left, we will live with it, that’s all we can do,” said Lormand’s father Jacques Lormand.
“We can’t forget.”
The Lormand family continues to grieve the loss of Patrick to this day.
‘We love him so much, but we have to let him go, we can’t keep him with us” said Villeneuve
“We will never forget what happened.”
The poppy project is on display at St-Joachim Roman Catholic Church in Chute-à-Blondeau.