Quarantined Needleworkers Around the World Unite to Create Record-Breaking String of 79,000 Flags

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Needleworkers and craft enthusiasts from all over the world have used their time in quarantine to help break the world record for the longest “bunting”—a form of decorative stringed flags popular in the UK.

The record-breaking swath of bunting—which is depicted in these stunning aerial drone photos—is made of 79,001 flags stretching 9 miles long (14.27 kilometers). All of the knitted flags were submitted to the project by contributors from around the globe.

The bunting measures almost double the existing Guinness World Record, which was held by Upton House with 31,119 flags at 4.6 miles (7.5 kilometers) in length.

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The flags were brought together by staff at the Devon County Show, which was due to be held this week, but was cancelled due to the novel coronavirus outbreaks. The continuous line of bunting was laid out over two days with each pennant no more than two inches apart, covering the 4,590-square-meter floor space of Westpoint Area in Exeter, Devon.

Deborah Custance Baker, who is chief steward for crafts and gardens at the Devon County Show, came up with the idea and lodged the attempt with Guinness World Records.

“The crafts and garden marquee is one of the most popular sections at Devon County Show and all of our stewards and visitors are really hands-on,” said Baker. “Every challenge we’ve set them so far they’ve not only succeeded in achieving, but have blown our expectations out of the water. The bunting is no exception.”

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While some of the fancier flags were decorated with flowers and patterns, many of the little triangles depict encouraging messages for the NHS.

“We do know that this is partly to do with lockdown,” says Baker. “Many of our contributors have commented on how knitting has really helped them through this difficult period of self-isolation by giving them a sense of purpose.

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“Several who had committed to making just a few suddenly found they had both the time and inclination to double, even triple their original pledges.

“We cannot believe people’s dedication and commitment to the task. We thought we might just beat the existing record but doubling it is a truly astonishing feat.”

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“We originally wanted to do the stringing and measuring at Exeter Cathedral with as many contributors who wanted to help as possible,” she continued. “As it was, we weren’t able to do this. I’ve had to have all the bunting delivered to me at home, and I’ve literally been drowning in it, and done all the stringing myself.

“Westpoint seemed like a great alternative to measure the record. It’s an enormous, covered event venue, which due to the pandemic, is currently not in use and has enabled us to lay out the bunting, which has taken a full two days, whilst remaining compliant with social distancing regulations.”

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Now that the bunting has been measured, all the documentation will be submitted to Guinness World Records and verified before the record can be made official.

“The local community will be invited to see the record-breaking bunting in its full glory on designated evenings throughout the summer.

“They will be offered the opportunity to purchase sections of the bunting to help raise funds for the Devon County Show’s charity of the year, farming charity The Addington Fund. The bunting will also be donated to local causes.”

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