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The Field of Remembrance

Saturday, 27th October 2007

The Field of Remembrance

On Thursday November 8th His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh will open The Royal British Legion Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey.

The sea of scarlet poppies on Remembrance Crosses are laid out by the Poppy Factory in over 230 plots for Regimental and other Associations.

The Remembrance crosses are provided so that ex-servicemen and women, as well as members of the public, can plant a cross in memory of their fallen comrades and loved ones with the Field remaining standing as a touching symbol throughout the period of Remembrance.

The Poppy Factory

Every year poppies are worn, wreaths are laid and the Nation turns its attention towards remembrance.

At the Poppy Factory this means the culmination of a year’s effort, producing over 30 million poppies, 500,000 poppies of other types, 5 million Remembrance Petals and up to 100,000 Wreaths.

The work force responsible for this is made up of predominately disabled people, who are either ex-Service or dependants of ex-Service people.

In addition to the regular workers at the Factory, there are some home-workers, assembling poppies in their own homes. Most are house bound by either chronic sickness or disability. There are others too in residential homes or disabled groups who also help make the poppies.

The Origins of the Poppy Factory

In 1922, Major George Howson, a young infantry officer, formed the Disabled Society, to help disabled ex-Service men and women from the First World War. Howson suggested to the Legion that members of the Disabled Society could make poppies and the Poppy Factory was subsequently founded in Richmond in 1922. The original poppy was designed so that workers with a disability could easily assemble it and this principle remains today.

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The work can be tough, but even the cold and rain don’t bother me as I enjoy it so much. I love every day that I spend at the Abbey – just being here makes me smile.

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Tim - Gardener

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