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Plastic-free poppies unveiled as 2023 Remembrance period begins

26 October 2023
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Poppies will be plastic free and recyclable for the first time this year in a move to reduce single-use plastics.

The Royal British Legion is launching its annual fundraising drive for veterans and their families coupled with the first redesign of its iconic emblem in a generation.

The new plastic-free version of the flower has been distributed to thousands of volunteers across the UK as well as major supermarkets and public-facing sites, buildings and organisations.

The RBL is selling its existing stocks of the old, plastic poppies alongside its successor, while anyone wishing to recycle unwanted plastic versions should hand them in at their nearest Sainsbury’s supermarket.

Among those proudly donning the new emblems, which has gone through more than ten iterations since introduced in 1921 and was last re-designed in the 1990s, is Royal Navy D-Day veteran John Roberts, aged 99, from Whitstable.

I’ve been wearing a poppy for more than 70 years, all different versions from cardboard ones, cotton ones and ones with a plastic centre and today’s new plastic-free version but while the poppies have changed, what will always remain is its important meaning.

Royal Navy D-Day veteran John Roberts

“I’ve been wearing a poppy for more than 70 years, all different versions from cardboard ones, cotton ones and ones with a plastic centre and today’s new plastic-free version but while the poppies have changed, what will always remain is its important meaning," he said.

“When I see people wearing a poppy, I think of all those we lost in World War 2.

John continued: “During the D-Day landings, my ship was just offshore at Sword Beach. I witnessed the destruction happening on land – I’d never seen anything like it and never saw anything like it again.

“I was one of the lucky ones who survived as our ship was narrowly missed by a torpedo, so I wear my poppy to remember those who weren’t so lucky.”
Crew of Britain’s biggest warship have already begun fund-raising – and showing their respect for forebears.

Petty Officer Luke Witts launched the appeal in HMS Prince of Wales’ café as the ship conducted F-35B Lightning trials off the coast of the USA.

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