Greenhithe First World War poppy remembrance plan reaches Number 10

News Shopper: Left to right: Graham Mentor-Morris and Phil Berry with the Prime Minister at Number 10. Left to right: Graham Mentor-Morris and Phil Berry with the Prime Minister at Number 10.

A plan to carpet the country in poppies to remember the First World War dead has made it all the way from Greenhithe to Number 10.

The Greenhithe and Swanscombe Royal British Legion Centenary Poppy Campaign began when a group of RBL members were inspired by a trip to visit the Flanders battlefields in Ypres, Belgium.

Over a pint at the club in London Road, Greenhithe, the coordinators Phil Berry and Graham Mentor-Morris came up with a plan to distribute packets of seeds across the country.

Prime Minister David Cameron came on board in October and on Monday he welcomed Phil and Graham to Downing Street to discuss the campaign as part of a special reception.

Graham told News Shopper: “He’s a very nice fella.

“We gave him a complimentary packet of seeds for his home garden and he was genuinely very impressed with it.

“We are hoping to get permission from the Speaker of the House John Bercow to plant poppies in the House of Commons.”

Graham, an ex-Royal Artillaryman, is also hoping to secure funding so all the royal parks can participate.

As well as the Number 10 garden, poppies have been planted at Clarence House and Buckingham Palace – and Graham even wants them at Stonehenge.

He said: “I’m not holding my breath for that one.

“What we will get though is a country flooded with poppies.”

Funding worth £100,000 has been secured from the Heritage Lottery Fund for packets of seeds to be distributed to schools in the UK.

They need to be sown by the end of May in order to flower by the time of the centenary of the start of the First World War this August.

Mr Cameron said: “This poppy initiative is a great idea that will help the next generation understand the significance of what happened during the First World War and commemorate the sacrifice of those who died.”

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