Poppy Appeal 2017: The Royal British Legion introduces a modern take on ‘In Flanders Fields’ for 2017 Poppy Appeal

Lines of the renowned poem ‘In Flanders Fields’ appeared in iconic locations today – installed by The Royal British Legion to launch the 2017 Poppy Appeal and encourage the nation to rethink the meaning of the poppy and recognise it as a symbol of hope.

‘In Flanders Fields’ was written after poppies bloomed on the battle fields of the First World War, despite the death and destruction around them. It’s that life force growing in the most difficult of circumstances that connects the poppy with a message of hope. By re-creating John McCrae’s poem, in seven locations the Legion aims to bring ‘In Flanders Fields’ into modern-day consciousness, encouraging people to consider the meaning of the poppy as a symbol both of Remembrance and hope.

The poppy and the work of the Legion are often associated with the First and Second World Wars and elderly veterans, however, the charity is calling on the public to build on those perceptions, reconsider what the poppy stands for and wear it in support of the Armed Forces Community, both past and present.

The individual letters of the poem are made up of clusters of poppies, giving the impression the lines of the poem have grown from the ground, and when viewed from a height or at ground level will bring a new perspective to the famous poem and its meaning.

The poem lines appeared at Royal Hospital Chelsea in London, on Dunkirk Beach, on the White Cliffs of Dover, at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, in Cardiff Bay, at Salford Quays in Manchester and outside the Sage in Newcastle.

The Royal British Legion’s Director of Fundraising Claire Rowcliffe said: “The Poppy Appeal 2017 is encouraging the public to recognise that your poppy supports the Armed Forces community past and present, and is a symbol of both Remembrance and hope.

“The work of the Legion is as relevant and vital today as it was in the aftermath of the First World War when the charity was founded. The donation for your poppy will help the Legion support today’s Armed Forces community through hardships, injury and bereavements.

“We’re encouraging people to dig deep for this year’s Poppy Appeal to help us raise £47 million. The Legion’s work is entirely dependent on the public’s generous support – so please wear your poppy with pride.”

The Armed Forces community is widely dispersed in the general population and the Legion’s support for them happens in unexpected ways and in unexpected places.

In the last year the generosity of the British public helped the Legion answer more than 1,077,000 requests for help. The Legion uses donations to offer support in many ways including providing crisis grants, researching the long lasting impact of blast injuries on the body, lobbying the government on issues that affect our Armed Forces community, sport and art based recovery programmes and advising on benefits and money problems.

For further information on the work of The Royal British Legion, visit: www.britishlegion.org.uk.


Notes to Editors:

The Poppy Appeal and the work of the Legion
The Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal runs from Thursday 26 October 2017. This year, the Legion is once again calling on the nation to ‘rethink Remembrance’, encouraging people to remember the fallen without forgetting the living.

  • The red poppy is a universal symbol of Remembrance and hope – hope for our beneficiaries to overcome their difficulties with our help, and hope for a peaceful world.
  • The fundraising target for the Poppy Appeal 2017 is a record £47m.
  • Thanks to the public’s support, in the last year The Royal British Legion has been able to answer more than 1,077,019 requests for help from the Armed Forces community.
  • During the Poppy Appeal 2017, over 40 million poppies will be distributed by 150,000 dedicated collectors.
  • In various locations, collectors will accept contactless card donations thanks to the charity’s partnership with Lloyds Bank Cardnet.
  • All collectors will accept the recently expired £1 coins as part of the #PoppyPound campaign.
  • There is no right or wrong way to wear a poppy – we only ask you to wear it with pride.

The Royal British Legion’s work is encapsulated in its motto: Live On – to the memory of the fallen and the future of the living. The Legion is the nation’s biggest Armed Forces charity providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families. It is the national custodian of Remembrance and safeguards the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces. It is well known for the annual Poppy Appeal, and its emblem the red poppy. www.britishlegion.org.uk

In Flanders Fields – copy split by location

London, Royal Hospital Chelsea


In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

Sage Gateshead


That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Dover, White Cliffs


Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Dunkirk Beach


Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

Cardiff, Cardiff Bay


Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

National Memorial Arboretum


The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

Salford Quays


We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.


Media enquiries

For further information on the Poppy Appeal or to arrange interviews, contact Clio Mackay / Press Officer / by email at cmackay@britishlegion.org.uk /  or via phone on 020 3207 2237 or 07823418836.

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Afghanistan support

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