Ipswich launches town’s Poppy Appeal with tree planting and parade
- Credit: Sonya Duncan
The formal launch the centenary Poppy Appeal has been marked in Ipswich with a gun carriage parade through the town centre and the planting of a memorial oak tree in Christchurch Park.
It also heralded the opening of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Shop in the Sailmakers shopping centre – raising money for the charity and selling items remembering the Great War as the centenary of the Armistice that brought an end to the fighting on the Western Front.
The ceremonial events started with Ipswich mayor Jane Riley planting one of 18 oaks to mark the centenary in the Park near the Round Pond.
It was decided last year that oak trees should be planted in towns and villages across Suffolk to mark the end of the war. The trees in Christchurch Park will be Ipswich’s contribution and will replace 16 trees that were removed earlier this year because they were reaching the end of their lives and were taken down before they became dangerous.
The sapling, which was grown in a nursery about three or four years ago, should become a feature of the park for decades and centuries to come.
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Mrs Riley then moved to the town centre to open the RBL shop on the top floor of Sailmakers. She was accompanied by members of the RBL and army cadets from the town who then paraded pulling the gun carriage through Tavern Street and helping to raise more funds for the Legion,
Ms Riley said it was an honour for her to be mayor at such a major milestone in the nation’s history.
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She said: “To some extent it is simply by chance that this centenary falls during my Mayoralty, but it is a very important time and I feel honoured to be able to represent the town in these events.
“It was supposed to be the War to end Wars. That wasn’t the case, of course, but it did lead to massive changes to society between the wars.”
Ipswich RBL chairman Robin Vickery said it remained important for people to remember what happened in the First World War – but also to honour those who fought and were killed or wounded in subsequent conflicts during the 20th and 21st centuries.
He said: “The trees are being planted after a suggestion by the Lord Lieutenant that it would be an appropriate way to mark such an important anniversary in Suffolk.”