SOLDIERS wounded in the First World War often turned to arts and crafts for therapy while convalescing. Many took up rag-rugging - making rugs and cushions from bits of old material - a textile tradition dating back to the 19th century.

In tribute to those who served in the conflict, West Riding Ruggers have made rag rug poppy wreaths - one is on display at Bradford World War 1's Shared Remembrance exhibition this week and another will be laid at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

Also on display in Bradford is a wreath called The Injured Soldier, featuring 12 'unknown soldiers' arranged as a clock face. "The soldiers are made from pegs, which we use for rag-rugging," said West Riding Ruggers chairman Penny Godfrey. "In the middle is a newly-injured soldier on a stretcher, representing the continual stream of injured soldiers to the field hospitals. Each soldier is tightly wrapped in a blanket. I learned from research that dead soldiers were often buried in their blankets. It's a universal symbol, as blankets were used by soldiers from all countries."

On Sunday Penny will take part in the People's Procession in London, joining 10,000 members of the public parading past the Cenotaph. She will carry a rag rug poppy wreath - one of 90 wreaths from around the Commonwealth currently on display at the National Army Museum - created by local rug makers as part of the Big Ideas project, commemorating the Labour Corps in WW1. "The wreath was inspired by the soldier’s blanket, which would have been one of the supplies transported by the Corps. The blanket has significance for us rug makers, who use blankets in our mats," said Penny. "The circles contain 52 tabs of wool, representing the number of months WW1 lasted."

The wreath at Shared Remembrance - at Bradford Mechanics Institute until Saturday - is made by Sue Barras and Ruth Graham. Its red poppies are made from a jumper belonging to Penny's father. "There are bits of cardigans in there, and mill waste wool. Rag rugging grew from people using up old clothes," said Sue.

Also in the exhibition are 'sweetheart pincushions' made by rag-ruggers, inspired by their family war histories. "Pincushions were made by soldiers in hospital and sent home to loved ones," said Penny. "They used rag rug techniques and embroidery, with scraps and sewing kits put together by nurses. We've re-created one to show the materials they used."

Some of the pincushions incorporate lace and tapestry created by grandparents who lived through the First World War.