(Left) A World Cup topper created by Tracy Williams in Heathfield, East Sussex and (right) Lioness goalkeeper Hannah Hampton (Diane Dutton and Tracy Williams/PA)
Crocheters around the country have been decorating their local post boxes with Women’s World Cup-themed toppers, with Lioness goalkeeper Hannah Hampton visiting one of the creations.
Jan Platt, 65, from the crochet group The Studley Stitchers in Warwickshire, created a postbox topper featuring local hero Hampton, which caught the attention of the goalie’s mother.
Ms Platt told the PA news agency: “We decided, as Hannah is a Lioness and as they are playing the World Cup, we would do something to celebrate her success being probably one of the only famous people in the village.”
The retired teacher and avid crafter consulted Hampton’s mother on the colours of the player’s kit and the number on her back before making it.
A post box topper featuring Lioness goalkeeper Hannah Hampton with her signature blonde ponytail (Diane Dutton/PA)
The Lioness visited the topper once it was installed in pride of place on a Studley post box.
Ms Platt said: “She just was overwhelmed and she really loved the fact that we’d done her hair the right way and that it actually looked like her.
“She actually said to me, ‘Oh, you’ve got my hair just right’. She always wears her hair in a ponytail on the side and I tried to create Hannah as she would be.”
Kathleen Shannon, 54, told the PA news agency that she crocheted a Women’s World Cup post box topper because she had previously made one for the men’s World Cup.
She said: “You’ve got to do the women’s as well, you can’t leave them out.”
Goalkeeper Hannah Hampton next to a post box topper made by Jan Platt in Studley, Warwickshire (Diane Dutton/PA)
Her topper features a Lioness wearing an England scarf and a football surrounded by the flags of countries taking part in the World Cup, and was made with a friend in Great Dunmow, Essex.
The hotel receptionist told PA news that she and two friends have made between 80 and 100 toppers since the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
The friends were able to reuse most of the elements for this topper from previous sport-themed crafts.
She said: “We just keep everything in boxes so we can reuse them if we need to.”
Ms Shannon said Great Dunmow residents “go around the town looking for them when we’ve got them up and bring their children around to see them”.
A post box topper featuring a Lioness and a football (Kathleen Shannon/PA)
She said: “We just love seeing people’s reactions to them and people’s comments. It’s just lovely. There’s just a really good feel-good factor to it.”
Tracy Williams, 44, told PA that she created a topper to “put a bit of support” behind the Lionesses.
Adorning a post box just off the high street in Heathfield, East Sussex, her topper features two female football players on a large football in front of a St George’s flag.
Ms Williams, a child minder, said she created it because “I think they did really well with the Euros before so I just wanted to put a bit of support behind them and the community seem to like it”, she said.
Ms Williams said: “Everyone seems to love them. They’re often commenting, or sometimes when I’m walking past I see people admiring them or taking pictures.
Tracy Williams topper featuring two female football players on a large football (Tracy Williams/PA)
“I just like making people smile and spread a bit of joy.”
The quirky crocheted toppers are also bringing a smile to people online.
Hundreds of avid crocheters have been sharing photos of their designs in Facebook groups like UK Post Box Toppers and More Group (67,500 members) and Postbox Toppers and Yarn Bombing (9,600 members).
Ms Shannon, a member of both groups, said the Facebook groups have been a source of inspiration and encouragement as “people just bounce ideas off each other”.
She said: “You’ll see something somebody else has done and think, ‘God, I didn’t think of doing that. That’s a great idea.’ People share ideas, which is really good.
“Sometimes you can just get stuck for inspiration and you think, ‘Oh, let me have a look in there and see what someone else has done’.”