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White poppy campaign launches amidst Covid and climate crisis

A pile of packs of five white poppies

White poppy campaign launches amidst Covid and climate crisis

The Peace Pledge Union have today launched this year's remembrance campaign, saying it is a vital time for the message behind white poppies.

"White poppies stand for remembrance of all victims of war, looking beyond national borders, as well as a rejection of militarism and a commitment to working towards a peaceful future,” said the Peace Pledge Union's Geoff Tibbs.

He added, “These messages have a renewed urgency today, as Covid and the climate crisis have shown the need to co-operate peacefully across borders and that militarism cannot make us safe.”

White poppies have been worn in the run-up to Remembrance Day since 1933, when the were founded by members of the Women's Co-operative Guild who had lost loved ones in the First World War. They are now distributed by the Peace Pledge Union (PPU).

They differ from red poppies, designed to remember only British and allied armed forces personnel and to show “support for the armed forces” - according to the Royal British Legion, who produce them.

Geoff Tibbs said, “"The so-called 'War on Terror', which has lasted for more than 20 years, has been a catastrophe of global proportions, leaving millions dead and displaced. As Remembrance Day approaches, this grim legacy reminds us that remembrance must confront the true human cost of war and not be confined by a nationalist agenda.”

Money raised through white poppy sales goes towards promoting nonviolent approaches to conflict and producing educational materials.

Many white poppy wearers also donate to charities supporting veterans or other victims of war. The PPU wants to see a situation in which veterans and others in need can rely on support from the state and not have to depend on charity.

The BBC declared last week that they will allow their presenters to wear white poppies rather than red poppies on air if they choose to do so. The PPU welcomed the move, while encouraging the BBC to ensure that no-one is pressurised into not doing so.

The last decade has seen some of the highest ever sales of white poppies since they were founded in 1933. Last year saw a big increase in the number of white poppy packs ordered by schools.

White poppies can be bought online or at over 150 shops and other outlets around the UK. Most cities and large towns have at least one white poppy outlet.

White poppies will also be sold in the street in some places, including at demonstrations around the COP26 summit in Glasgow.