Bedford and Luton yarn bomb delight helps spread vital message on mental health

A previous display at the Bedford suspension bridgeA previous display at the Bedford suspension bridge
A previous display at the Bedford suspension bridge
An unusual display has been strung along the bridge in Wardown Park to highlight issues of mental illness.

Keen crafter and artist Verity Slaughter-Penney has worked with a team of knitters and crochet fans to create a beautiful display of 1,800 purple and white flowers as a fundraiser for the Transition UK charity which supports young people with mental health issues.

The display has already been on tour at the Bedford suspension bridge and Bedford sports and social club, before being attached to the Wardown bridge this week.

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"It’s touring in all the areas the charity works in but we have even had some interest from Brighton to put it on show,” said Verity. “It’s finding the ideal places to put it without it being a distraction to drivers.”

People can donate using the QR codePeople can donate using the QR code
People can donate using the QR code

The work was created after Verity put out a plea for flowers in the colour of the charity, based in Milton Keynes. Purple is also the signature colour which reflects mental health. Around 200 people responded, including one from Poland and as far as the Isle of Wight. A blind crafter from Yorkshire provided 200 flowers, and Verity herself completed around 200 before stitching them all to netting to produce the display.

"We asked people to make them as individual as possible to represent the young people we have lost to suicide. Every single flower is different to represent individuality.”

Verity, a former headteacher who works at the charity, has had her own issues with mental illness and suffers from PTSD and anxiety disorder.

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"The work of the charity is very important to me,” she said. The purple flowers display follows on from a poppy display she organised which went on display before the pandemic.

Poppy bombing in Bedford in 2018 - Photo Jellypics photographyPoppy bombing in Bedford in 2018 - Photo Jellypics photography
Poppy bombing in Bedford in 2018 - Photo Jellypics photography

The flowers take about a week to attach to the webbing and then another three hours to fit the installation to the bridges.

"People stop and talk to me when I’m putting the display up which is lovely, They say ‘what a delightful thing to do’ People respect demonstrations like this of love really,” she said.

The Wardown feature includes a note explaining the purpose behind the display along with a QR code for people to donate. Once the display has finally finished the flowers will be turned into badges for sale.

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"We’re hoping lots of people go and see it and donate, I know it’s hard times for people but it’s even tougher times for some young people,” said Verity.

The yarn bombing at WardownThe yarn bombing at Wardown
The yarn bombing at Wardown

Transitions UK provides support that changes the lives of vulnerable and disadvantaged young people aged 13-24 yrs. Founded in 2014 in Luton the charity is now working in 18 location hubs across Herts, Beds, Bucks, Leicestershire, Birmingham and North London across four specialities – learning disabilities, at risk of offending, mental health challenges and care experienced young people. To find out more go to

If you would like to help Verity in future projects or are a professional photographer who can help highlight the work being done, Verity can be contacted on http://[email protected]

To donate go to