Sep 11 2013
Plans to plant millions of poppies marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War have been dealt a blow after funding was turned down, it has been reported.
The Royal British Legion's 2014 Real Poppy project was intended to remember the start of the conflict in 1914 and had been supported by Prime Minister David Cameron and the Prince of Wales.
But the Heritage Lottery Fund, which is providing grants for commemorative projects, has turned down requests to fund the project, the Daily Telegraph said.
Bruce Simpson, chairman of the Western Front Association, told the newspaper: "This absolutely has to be rethought. I cannot understand the thinking behind it.
"It is all very well to have unusual, diverse projects going on, but they should not be in place of ones like this, which seem to be at the absolute core of what the commemorations should be about. The poppy is such a symbol of the war and this seemed such a classical project."
Some of the bloodiest fighting of the First World War took place in the Flanders and Picardy regions of Belgium and Northern France. The poppy is considered an important symbol of the conflict because it was the only thing which grew in the aftermath of the complete devastation.
Conservative MP Gareth Johnson for Dartford, whose great-grandfather died in the war, said: "I am astonished and dismayed by the decision. As David Cameron made clear, this is exactly the sort of project we should be helping."
He told the newspaper: "I very much hope it will in due course reconsider what I believe was an ill-judged decision by them and they can find some way to support this very worthwhile campaign."
A Heritage Lottery Fund spokesman was unavailable for comment.