International Ribbon of Poppies event launch

On 22 March, Wing Commander Helen Simpson MA BSc, the Station Commander of RAF St Mawgan, supported by military personnel, local veterans, including representation from The Veterans Charity and three local schools, launched our international Ribbon of Poppies event across the UK.

The Ribbon of Poppies first started to grow in 2017, when it’s creator, inspired by the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red poppies (also known as the Tower of London Poppies) and a field of real poppies, in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire had the seed of an idea. This idea was for youth groups and organisations to create a “living memorial” to mark the centenary of the end of World War 1 in 2018, between Lands End and John O’Groats.

The intention was always to be a free event, as the price was paid by those who never came home. All you needed was a place to sow poppy seeds and the actual seeds to honour the deeds. The carpet of crimson grew beyond our expectations, thanks in large part to the Scouts and Girl Guides. The idea was shared with them and thanks to their global membership, who helped sow the seed on every continent, bar Antarctica!

Iain Henderson our Trustee and the creator of the event, met with Wing Commander Simpson, her team and members of VIVO Defence Contractors, and Gavin Jones (Landscapers) Ltd at RAF St Mawgan, some weeks ago, to discuss rewilding parts of the base and making it the launch event for 2024.

Sadly the UK has lost 97% of our wildflowers since WW2 according to the National Wildflower Centre at the nearby Eden Project. The meeting has seen not only the national launch of our green act remembrance arranged at St Mawgan, but over 50 other defence sites across the country! Many of the sites have connections to D-Day, and they will soon be joining this years event thanks to VIVO for spreading the word/

We encourage participants to sow not only poppies, but cornflowers for French forces, daisies for the Dutch and Belgium’s, rosemary for the ANZAC’s and many more floral tributes. The scale of planting, can range from a plant pot or window box full to, a poppy “patch” dedicated to WW1 veteran Harry Patch, to a memorial meadow, whatever people can achieve in their local area.

Another option, leant its name to our moving act of remembrance, the Routes of Remembrance, was initially planting alongside roads, railways, canals and the like, it now also covers our railway and transport events.

We suggest those partaking in poppy sowing, do so in batches over time, to encourage longer shows of flowers. At the end of the season we always recommend sharing poppy seeds with family, friends and neighbours, further growing remembrance and wildlife resources. You can recycle the petals, the stalks and of course the seeds.

The Veterans Charity invite all organisations to start sowing the seeds, as soon as possible. You can find out more on the @RibbonOfPoppies Facebook and Twitter (X) pages.

Our Executive Members

By @Cobseo 54 years ago

Afghanistan support

In light of recent events in Afghanistan, please find information and support resources here