Back to top

White poppies sold and worn around the UK

Rhun Dafydd displays a white poppy in Cardiff last weekend

White poppies sold and worn around the UK

White poppies are on sale in shops, cafes and street stalls in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday, with thousands more being sold online.

There are over 200 white poppy outlets around the UK, with at least one in almost every city and large town, alongside others in smaller towns and villages.

This year has seen the launch of a new design for white poppies, which are now entirely plastic-free and recyclable in household recycling facilities. They are distributed by the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), a pacifist campaigning group, and made by Calverts, a workers' co-operative in east London.

White poppies stand for remembrance of all victims of war, a commitment to peace and a rejection of militarism. They have been worn at Remembrance time since 1933.

In contrast, the Royal British Legion, who produce red poppies, say that they commemorate only UK and allied armed forces personnel.

Selling white poppies in Cardiff last weekend, PPU member Ed Bridges said, "I wear a white poppy because it isn't enough simply to say 'Never Forget'. We also have to be bold enough to pledge 'Never Again', and to work for peace."

The last decade has seen an increase in white poppy sales, with the record broken in 2018 - the centenary of the end of World War One - when over 122,000 white poppies were sold. The number of outlets has more than doubled in five years.

Outside of the UK, white poppies are also worn at Remembrance time in Canada and elsewhere. In New Zealand, white poppies are worn in April - at the same time red poppies are worn, to coincide with ANZAC Day.

White poppies have been visible at a number of events and demonstrations during the last week, making the links between peace and other issues.

They were worn by students in Sheffield and Lancaster protesting about their universities' links with arms companies. White poppies were sold at a demonstration in Glasgow yesterday over the cost of living. 

White poppy outlets and street stalls in Wales have included a choice of white poppies in either English or Welsh - with "peace" or "hedd" written in the centre. Other white poppy-related materials are also available in Welsh.

Welsh-language white poppies have been promoted by Cymdeithas y Cymod (the Fellowship of Reconcilation in Wales) and Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (the Welsh Language Society) as well as by the Peace Pledge Union.

Sales of white poppy-related educational resources are also going strong. In recent years it has become more common for schools to make white poppies available to students and staff, usually alongside red poppies.

"The peace poppy is intended to support all those affected by war, including innocent civilians and all of the rest," explained comedian and commentator Kate Smurthwaite on her YouTube channel earlier this week. "And you can look up all of the really brilliant causes that they support on their website."

Money raised by white poppy sales goes towards promoting alternatives to war and producing educational resources on peace and conflict. Many white poppy wearers also donate to charities supporting veterans or other victims of war.

The Peace Pledge Union has long insisted that veterans - and everyone else - should be able to rely on a well-funded welfare state rather than on charity.

Other celebrities to endorse white poppies this week include Oscar-winning actor Mark Rylance, who insisted on Monday that civilian casualties should be remembered and that Remembrance Day should be a time to "refocus our every effort to avert war".

White poppies are expected to become increasingly visible in the two weeks before Remembrance Sunday on 13 November, when the Peace Pledge Union will hold the National Alternative Remembrance Sunday Ceremony in Tavistock Square, London, which will also be live-streamed online.

Other alternative ceremonies featuring white poppies will be held elsewhere, and in addition white poppies will feature alongside red poppies in a number of official ceremonies.


You can search our map to find white poppy outlets in your area, or order white poppies online.