This year's Poppy Appeal, organised by British expat Dr Mark Felton, is underway in Shanghai. Poppies can be bought from Marks & Spencer on Nanjing West Road and Huaihai Road, and at New Vision Eye Clinic and (for those with children) from the British International School's Puxi and Pudong campuses, Dulwich College Pudong, and Britannica School Gubei.
This year’s Poppy Appeal is once again underway in Shanghai. Organised by local British writer Dr. Mark Felton, the red corn poppy is a symbol of remembrance for British and Commonwealth citizens throughout the world, worn to commemorate war dead since the First World War. The red poppy was chosen because of the fields of poppies that grew on the battlefields in France and Belgium in 1914-18.
The Poppy Appeal, created by the Royal British Legion (RBL) in 1921, and whose patron is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, raises funds from selling poppies, and the money is used to help veterans in the UK. Last year over 360 million yuan was raised in Britain and among British expats abroad, including over 30,000 yuan in Shanghai, that helps to fund a variety of charitable projects run by the RBL, including care homes for ex-servicemen, welfare visits to veterans at home, grants and a host of other important charitable assistance to Britain’s bravest men and women.
Shanghai was in the front lines in World War II, and this year marks the 70th anniversary of the enforced internment of 8,000 British men, women and children by the Japanese in 1943. Hundreds of these civilian expats died in Japanese camps from disease and abuse, so the Poppy Appeal is a visual way that today’s British expats in Shanghai can show their respect, as well as more generally acknowledging British dead in all the wars since 1914, including more recently Iraq and Afghanistan.
Dr. Felton has seen firsthand how the Poppy Appeal helps veterans. Earlier this year his grandfather, an 88-year-old World War II Burma Campaign veteran, passed away. His grandfather received several very kind morale boosting visits from RBL volunteers. Without donations, the RBL’s vital work would not be possible, and the debt that we owe to those who fought for the freedoms we now enjoy would be ignored. The motto of the Royal British Legion is: ‘We Shall Remember Them’. Let’s make sure that we do this November by buying a poppy and wearing it with pride.
The Poppy Appeal Shanghai is also supported by Tesco and Diageo.
It may not be wise to wear your poppy if you get invited to an official governmental event.
[Image via Flickr]