Nothing woolly about group's ambition for crafty Guinness World Record success
GROW North Staffs volunteers focused on huge pompom target
Written by the editor, Jerome Whittingham, with photos supplied by GROW North Staffs
Creative community group GROW North Staffs are continuing to ramp up their activity this summer, crafting hard to set a quirky Guinness World Record in October this year.
“Back in 2020, we were looking towards 2023, the 850th anniversary of Newcastle-under-Lyme receiving its royal charter, and we wanted something to do to celebrate it. The idea of doing a world record attempt came along and we decided to go with pompoms,” said Jayne Fair, who’s helping to co-ordinate a mammoth task for GROW North Staffs.
The group aims to produce a string of pompoms 11,730 metres long, Newcastle became a borough on receiving its charter from King Henry II back in 1173. Clearly, 1,173 metres wasn’t ambitious enough for the pompom crafters!
Just as the group started to get to work the Covid-19 pandemic struck, but this actually helped to get the crafting activity off to a good start, as people were at home and eager for something to do.
“Our volunteers created pompom packs that we passed out to the community. Each pack contained wool, scissors, pompom makers and instructions,” said Jayne.
“Packs went out to Scouts and Guides, to community groups and were even included in food parcels. We kept in touch with one another via Zoom and Facebook and before long we had hundreds of busy hands pompomming away ready to celebrate 2023.”
‘Pompomming’, maybe the group have coined a new verb too.
As Covid restrictions lifted the project moved even faster. Word got out and soon pompoms were rolling in from all over the UK.
Jayne explained that the kudos of setting a Guinness World Record will be a small part of the project’s achievement. The bigger accomplishment is the effect the project is having on the community groups and people taking part, building friendships and strengthening individuals too.
Jayne added: “One volunteer said, ‘I like making pompoms, I find I don’t smoke any where near as much as I did.’
“One group enjoyed meeting so much that started meeting twice weekly, once to make pompoms for us, and a second time to make items that they could sell to raise funds for their village. So far they’ve raised over £500 for local good causes.”
There are now pompoms stuffed in bags in spare bedrooms, sheds, and offices all over North Staffordshire, and the group has started their big count of the woolly creations.
“We do know that there are two records we could aim for, both slightly different but both within our reach,” said Jayne.
“Whilst we would be ecstatic to break both, we’ll be happy to bring one home. One is based on distance and the other is on total number. For one we will need 117,300 and for the other we will need 45,736. We know we’re well on the way to the former, and will therefore hopefully far exceed the latter.”
Sunday 15th October is the day the pompommers are targeting for the big reveal. They have secret plans of how and where the enormous string of pompoms is going to be displayed. It’s going to be quite a sight.
But, they have a hot summer of crafting to get through yet, and they need more volunteer pompom-makers, and more people to help them with precision pompom counting.
“We can supply pompom packs to groups and individuals, and we would love to hear from anyone who wants to get involved. Packs can be picked up from The Guildhall and the Sense charity shop in Newcastle, and pompoms can be dropped off there too.”
Imagine seeing your contribution of pompoms in the line, maybe in your business’ or school’s corporate colours?
If you’d like to get involved, the GROW North Staffs team meet for counting in The Guildhall on the 3rd Sunday of each month, that’s Castle Artisan Market days.
“We need to have 250 bags bagged before we know we have broken a record. It’s not the pompoms we’re lacking, it’s the volunteers we that we need to help us fill the bags,” says Jayne.
What an ace project, crafty and community-building, and healthily eccentric too. Support them if you can.
Email Jayne and GROW North Staffs: firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook: GROW North Staffs
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