White poppy row

WAR veterans are today saddened after an alternative poppy has gone on sale in Ipswich.As the traditional red poppy is sold in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday, a church minister has started to sell a clutch of white poppies symbolising peace.

WAR veterans are today saddened after an alternative poppy has gone on sale in Ipswich.

As the traditional red poppy is sold in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday, a church minister has started to sell a clutch of white poppies symbolising peace.

The Rev Andrew Kleissner suggested the white poppy could be worn alongside - or even instead of - the red poppy.

Peter Thompson, chairman of the Ipswich branch of the Royal British Legion and the Poppy Appeal organiser for Ipswich and district, added: “The red poppy doesn't promote war in any way. It's red for blood and has a black centre for grief.


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“I feel very sad. I have spoken to several volunteers and they all feel the same. We are out there trying to sell poppies and this comes along. I think it's disgraceful.”

Dunkirk veteran Bernard Sharp, 86, of Chelsworth Avenue, Ipswich, objects to the white poppies.

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He said: “The red poppy is a symbol of help and to remember those who've died. I lost and lots of friends in the war. Nobody wants war but we have to respect those who died. I don't recognise the white poppy.”

Mr Kleissner, minister at Christ Church (united reformed/Baptist) in Tacket Street, has been selling white poppies alongside traditional red ones.

He came to Ipswich two months ago and used to sell the white poppies - which have been around since 1933 - at his west London church.

Mr Kleissner said: “I bought a little packet of 25. I've got about ten or 12 left and I think I will carry on selling them. I didn't mean to cause offence, it's just something I've done for years. Christ said, 'Blessed are the peacemakers'.

“I don't want to detract from the sale of red poppies and I don't want to decry the memory of those who fought, but I want to look to the future and there are ways of solving problems that don't involve conflict.”

Mr Kleissner's own father, who came from Germany, was involved in the student anti-Nazi movement in the late 1930s and served in the British army during the Second World War.

What do you think about the white poppy? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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