Poppy is a symbol of hope and remembrance a century on

Susan Lorden and Cecilia Anderson at the Borders Pet Rescue store in Duns who are selling purple poppies to commemorate the animal victims of war
Susan Lorden and Cecilia Anderson at the Borders Pet Rescue store in Duns who are selling purple poppies to commemorate the animal victims of war

Poppies are being worn across the country in the run up to Remembrance Day - the poppy being the enduring symbol of remembrance and hope after the horror and destruction of World War 1.

Inspired by ‘In Flanders Field’, the World War 1 poem by John McCrae, the poppy was first used in 1921 to commemorate soldiers who died in the war, and that sentiment continues 93 years later. This year it has taken on a higher profile courtesy of the art installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ at the Tower of London where almost a million ceramic poppies have been seen by hundreds of thousands of people.

Ian McGreor, chief executive of Poppyscotland says Scotland’s armed forces community still needs the poppy.

“This year has been one of significant military anniversaries and milestones, in particular the centenary of the First World War,” said Mr McGregor.

“Without a doubt, the war changed our world and our communities forever. Scotland punched above its weight in the war effort and, proportionally, lost more men than anywhere else in the UK. There was not a village, town or city left untouched by the war’s devastating impact.

“From this horror and destruction grew the poppy, both as the nation’s collective symbol of Remembrance, and as a way to raise money to support those left destitute and with horrendous physical injuries and torturous mental scars.

“The poppy is unique in bringing the country together in a simple yet powerful act of Remembrance but, importantly, it changes lives by providing much-needed support to those who need it most.”

Armistice Day on Tuesday, November 11, will be marked in Coldstream with a display of handcrafted poppies in the memorial gardens behind the war memorial - the first of what is hoped will be annual displays there up to 2018 marking the end of World War I.

Almost 700 poppies have been knitted and crocheted over the past two months and have been on sale in Kelso, Coldstream and Duns over the past couple of weeks. They are also decorating the flagpoles at the Leet Bridge and and railings of the Irish Bridge in Coldstream.

“The poppies from the display will be used next year in our poppy raffle (every alternate year we make brooches and the intervening year we hold a poppy raffle), which is all handcrafted items,” explained a member of the Coldstream Honour Our Troops committee, who co-ordinated the hand-made poppy project.

Their 700 poppies were supplemented by a small number of purple poppies, introduced by the charity Animal Aid in 2007 to commemorate the animal victims of war, all the purple poppies selling out in record time.