The Ribbon of Poppies continues to grow Remembrance

As part of the ideas by The Veterans Charities (Cornwall) team to help win the bid for the Falmouth national Armed Forces Day event, we included the “living” memorial that is the Ribbon of Poppies™ .

The Ribbon of Poppies was created in 2017 by The Memorial Mob, who had been inspired by a field of poppies near Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire and the Tower of London installation, Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red. Many will have seen the stunning ceramic poppies that filled the moat and toured key sites around the UK afterwards or even own one of the poppies.

But on hearing that the United Kingdom had lost 97% of the nation’s wildflowers since WW2, the creator and now Trustee of The Veterans Charity felt real poppies should be the order of the day, to remember the poppies of Flanders fields.

We wanted to create a carpet of crimson from Lands End to John O’Groats in a Ribbon of Poppies, visiting towns and villages between these two points. It was an event initially to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War in 2018.

As the creator was also a volunteer Scout Leader at the time, they shared the idea to sow poppies across the land on several Scout and Girl Guides social media pages one Friday evening after running a Scouts session. The next morning, they woke to find that the idea had been very well received with hundreds of pledges coming in!

The Scouts and Girl Guides movements are of course “global concerns” and quickly groups asked if they could join in the event, even though they were not in the UK. The answer “yes” of course came quickly as the World had heard the call to arms in 1914.

Within weeks pledges had come from every continent, bar Antarctica, which is not noted for its flower displays! Groups were encouraged to grow local flowers of remembrance, so as not to introduce non-native varieties.

Options to grow, ranged from a plant pot or window box, to a small poppy patch (named in honour of the last surviving Tommy of WW1, Harry Patch), to large gardens, up to memorial meadows!

As a legacy of Armed Forces Day Cornwall Council are encouraging Town and Parish councils to create living memorials, and The Veterans Charity have also met with the Eden Project and the National Wildflower Centre for their expert advice.

The Routes of Remembrance name we now use for the various moving acts of remembrance, since our first event with GWR trains to keep remembrance on track through the pandemic, is a name from the Ribbon of Poppies project. This was intended for wildflower displays alongside roads, canals, railways etc. All with permission and support of local landowners/authorities of course. We hope to have parts of the new A30 dual carriage ways sown with poppy and other wildflower seeds.

We hope more councils and organisations will join in for 2024 to create red routes to sites linked to D-Day, to create a living memorial to those who undertook the liberation of Europe.

We encourage a wide range of wildflowers to be sown, red poppies of course, but with purple for animals, yellow for munition workers, cornflowers for the French forces, daisies for the Dutch and Belgium’s and others, you can find more ideas on the Ribbon of Poppies Facebook page.

The Ribbon of Poppies is free to join as we have always felt the price was paid in full by those who never came home. Donations that support present veterans are welcome of course as The Veterans Charity are currently experiencing another record year.

Our Executive Members

By @Cobseo 55 years ago

Afghanistan support

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