Thirty members of the Nurses’ Guild and some guests visited the Poppy Museum for a very interesting afternoon.

Our visit started with lunch – a bowl of soup and apple pie with custard (yum) – followed by a fascinating talk by Brian who gave us a real insight into the work of the Poppy Factory both past and present.

Inspiration from John McCrae’s moving poem ‘The Flanders Fields’ and much work in America and France created the poppy as a symbol of remembrance. The first Poppy Day was held in 1921 raising £100,000.00 for veterans and their families.  Major George Howson set up the Disabled Society in 1920 to provide support for the wounded returning from the Great War believing that ‘the disabled should be given a chance’ and then, with Earl Haig, the Poppy Factory in 1922.

The Poppy Factory today produces more than seven million poppies per year, as well as wreaths and Remembrance symbols, and employs many veterans at its premises in Richmond.  It also provides an Employability Service designed to help ex- service personnel find work. This work is carried out throughout the country with a large number of employers and supports the veterans in their positions afterwards.

After the talk we were taken into the factory area where we all had a chance to make our own poppies – great fun – and were shown the wreaths used on Remembrance Day.

I really enjoyed the visit, learning a great deal about the excellent work done by the Factory.  My thanks go to Christine Anderson for doing an excellent job in arranging it.

Sally Echlin

(Please click an image below for a slideshow)