The crocheted soldierA poignant life-size statue of a World War One soldier is standing proudly in an Erewash churchyard – after being made entirely from CROCHET.

A BBC news crew rushed to film the astonishing tribute, which is the work of Stanley Common mum Jilly Crofts. She is known locally as “The Crochet Queen”.

Jilly, 57, laboured for 200 hours over months to get the figure ready for Remembrance Day. The 6ft soldier stands to attention at the village’s All Saints Church. Crocheted poppies surround his feet.

Mother-of-one Jilly told BBC TV’s East Midlands today: “Stanley Common hasn’t got a permanent war memorial so a couple of years ago I crocheted a postbox topper with a solder on it. It went down phenomenally well so I thought, Why not do a life-size version of it?

“I basically made it up as I went along – no pattern.”

One gobsmacked local resident said as crowds flocked to admire the statue: “This is such a fantastic thing for the village. Jilly has really excelled herself.”

Pictures that were posted on the Friends of Stanley Common Facebook page drew comments such as: “Wow! That’s incredible. A lot of work has gone into that.” Another said simply: “Absolutely beautiful.”

Several Royal British Legion events will take place across Erewash ahead of Remembrance Sunday on November 12.

This Sunday (5 Nov) will see a march to Long Eaton Cemetery set out at around 10.45am from where a plaque in Hamilton Road pays tribute to 17 men from the street who lost their lives in World War One.

Local cadets will lay crosses on the heroes’ graves. On Tuesday (7 Nov) a 10am service will be held at Park Road Cemetery in Ilkeston, where there are more than 70 commonwealth war graves.

Children from Chaucer and Granby schools will lay crosses at the memorial there. At 11am a service at All Saints Church in Kirk Hallam will see pupils from nearby Dallimore and Ladywood primary schools lay crosses.

This will be followed by a service at Ilkeston’s Lower Stanton Road Cemetery (muster at 11.25am).

On Wednesday (8 Nov) Ilkeston Rugby Club’s 10.30am memorial service takes place at The Stute. A monument nearby honours 27 Hallam Fields men who lost their lives between 1914 and 1918.

Saturday (11 Nov) will see 11am Armistice Day services at Ilkeston’s Cenotaph and Long Eaton’s War Memorial. Both venues will next day be the focus of Remembrance Sunday parades and services (12 Nov).

Mayor of Erewash Councillor Frank Phillips described it as “such an important day”. He said: “I am honoured to be able to lay a wreath at the Ilkeston Cenotaph and I look forward to being with so many of you. Lest we forget.”