Lymington stainless steel sculptor Michael Turner gets ready for 2023 Great New Forest Poppy Hunt, fundraising for Royal British Legion
A STUNNING collection of poppies featuring military buttons will be up for grabs in a Lymington sculptor’s annual community treasure hunt.
Internationally renowned stainless steel artist Michael Turner is gearing up for this year’s hunt for 11 hand-crafted flowers on Remembrance Day to raise thousands for the Royal British Legion.
This year the stunning blooms have been made using a collection of military buttons dating back to the first and second world wars. Each poppy is unique, with Michael adapting the designs to reflect different branches of the military including, the Royal Navy, the Royal Fuselage City of London, the Mounted Horse Guard; the army and the RAF.
Michael has also created a further 11 stainless steel poppies which he will auction in aid of the RBL in the hope of equalling last year’s fundraising total of over £3,000.
Michael said: “I’ve been organising the poppy hunt since 2015 so it’s become pretty well known in the Forest, and people always really love getting involved.
“I always try to look for new ways to mix it up and this year I’ve used military buttons at the centre of the poppies. I’ve sort of run away with it and created lots of different designs which I’ve adapted to reflect the buttons.
“This year’s hunt will mainly take place around the New Forest but I haven’t ruled out hiding a couple in the Highcliffe and Christchurch area.”
On Remembrance Day, Saturday 11th November, Michael will hide 11 poppies and post clues on his Instagram and Facebook pages.
With more than 17,000 Instagram followers and 5,000 fans on Facebook, hundreds or even thousands could be involved.
Michael said: “I usually start hiding the poppies at about 7am and try to do the final one by around 4pm when it is getting dark. I always like to stay near to the final poppy as it gives me a chance to chat to some of the people that have been taking part. I ask everyone who finds a poppy to make a donation to the Royal British Legion.”
This year’s collection includes a special winged RAF poppy, a stemmed bloom, a purple flower to honour service animals killed during conflicts, mounted poppies and hanging flowers. Michael has marked all designs with a 2023 stamp.
In the week leading up to the treasure hunt Michael will run the online auction for a further 11 poppies.
The poppy hunt is always a family affair, with Michael’s wife Jenny and children Thomas and Eleanor helping to think up new locations to conceal the colourful blooms.
Michael said: “It’s almost as much work thinking of new places to hide the poppies – after nine years it can be quite a challenge!
“I usually work out where I will hide the first one a few days before and then plan a route from there. People are already asking if I can give them a clue – but that’s not playing the game.”
Michael began the poppy hunt back in 2015 as a tribute to his grandfathers, both of whom fought in the Second World War. He has so far raised more than £25,000 in total.
He specialises in creating life-sized stainless steel sculptures depicting animals such as horses, alligators, mythical creatures and birds of prey. Famous clients include Gordon Ramsay who has a full-sized gorilla sculpture in his flagship London restaurant.
To join the Great New Forest Poppy Hunt follow Michael on Instagram @michaelturnerstudios or visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Michaelturnerstudios or to place a bid on one of the auction poppies email firstname.lastname@example.org