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Swanscombe and Greenhithe Royal British Legion poppy planting scheme for First World War centenary set to go national
A FIRST World War memorial campaign hatched over a pint in Greenhithe is to be rolled out across the country.
The Real Poppy Campaign was the brainchild of Greenhithe and Swanscombe Royal British Legion members Graham Mentor-Morris and Phil Berry and received the backing of Prime Minister David Cameron.
B&Q has agreed to stock packets of poppy seeds at its stores for local authorities and campaign supporters to buy with the aim of carpeting the country in the red flowers - just like the Flanders fields after the Great War ended in 1918.
Mr Mentor-Morris is delighted his plan to celebrate the centenary of the start of the conflict next year has received national backing.
He said: "We are over the moon our campaign is now being developed on a national level with support from a national retailer.
"Not only will the Real Poppy Campaign commemorate all those who gave so much during the First World War but it will also raise vital funds for the legion."
The Royal British Legion is hoping the carpet the country in poppies next year (pic by J.H. Janßen).
Dartford Council has pledged £1,000 to support the campaign, set to be launched officially next month, but not everything has run smoothly after the Heritage Lottery Fund declined to back the scheme.
Dartford MP Gareth Johnson hosted a Westminster Hall debate in the Houses of Parliament on September 10 to try and persuade the fund to reverse the decision made last month.
Mr Johnson said he was "shocked and disappointed that such a wonderful idea had not been approved for funding" and added he wanted to make the Heritage Lottery Fund "see sense".
Mr Johnson said: "It was a moment of great pride for Greenhithe RBL when the Prime Minister referenced their campaign.
"Prince Charles called it ‘poignant and evocative’ and DEFRA and the Ministry of Defence fully support it.
"I know that Greenhithe RBL will be appealing the refusal and have been invited to appear on the BBC Breakfast Show. I hope that my hosting this debate will also assist."
Visit realpoppy.co.uk to help with the campaign.
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