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Barbados Poppy League celebrates 100 anniversary

Barbados Poppy League celebrates 100 anniversary
Members of the Barbados Defence Force assist Mary Walker with a poppy. (FILE)

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On October 8, people who have given yeoman service to the Barbados Poppy League will be recognised during an official launch and awards ceremony to celebrate its 100th anniversary.

The event will be hosted by President of Barbados, Her Excellency The Most Honourable Dame Sandra Mason, at State House, beginning at 7 p.m.

Other activities on the cards for the centenary are the launch of the annual poppy appeal, which has been extended to four weeks, beginning on Monday, October 17; a band concert featuring the Barbados Defence Force and Cadet Bands and the Hearts Aflame Steel Orchestra of the St Augustine’s Anglican Church, St George; a museum display; a series of public lectures and a commemorative booklet entitled: Service by Our Veterans.

In addition, the Poppy League has unveiled a new logo and motto: Serving Those Who Served, and is in the process of setting up a new website, primarily for the sale of souvenirs and mementos and to allow for online contributions.

For over a century, the poppy has been worn by soldiers, military veterans, and members of the public as a symbol of remembrance of the lives lost in World War I and, subsequently, World War ll.

The Barbados Poppy Day League, familiarly known as the Barbados Poppy League, was founded by then Governor of Barbados, Sir Charles O’Brian.

Its mandate was to raise funds for and take care of the needs of the island’s military veterans. With the establishment of the Barbados Legion in 1957, the Poppy League became the fundraising arm of the Barbados Legion.

The first poppies were sold in 1923. Every year since then, the League has raised funds to assist with the veterans’ medical bills, house repairs, the provision of small stipends and daily meals, among other needs. (BGIS)