White poppies ‘banned’ from Chesterfield Remembrance service

The white poppy is meant to commemorate all casualties of war.
The white poppy is meant to commemorate all casualties of war.

A Chesterfield woman has been refused permission to lay a wreath of white poppies at the town’s Remembrance day service.

Local historian, Lyn Pardo, says that in previous years she has been allowed to commemorate all the victims of war, and not just the service personnel.

Remembrance Day used to be about rasing money.

Lyn Pardo

This year, however, she says she has been stopped from doing so by a decision taken by Chesterfield Borough Council to allow red poppies only.

She said: “They said we were welcome to have our own little ceremony but we weren’t allowed to take part in the main service.

“It is odd when in the past we have been allowed to do so.

“I know that civilian casualties are now referred to as ‘collateral damage’, but for me, their deaths are as important as those of the military.

Lyn says she will continue to wear a red poppy, as her father, a member of the Royal British Legion, taught her to.

But, she says, she will also wear a white poppy in the hope a better way can be found to resolve differences than ‘indiscriminate killing’.

“Remembrance Day used to be about rasing money,” she added.

“Now it has a different slant. It is much more about glorification I feel.”

Councillor Tricia Gilby, Chesterfield Borough Council’s leader, said: “We gave careful consideration to the request from the Chesterfield Pro-Peace Group to lay a wreath of white poppies before reaching the conclusion that this would not be appropriate on this occasion.

“The wreath-laying ceremony held in the spirit of thanksgiving to those who fought and gave their lives in conflict.

“We have invited the group to attend the ceremony and have also offered them the opportunity to lay a wreath after the ceremony or to hold an alternative wreath laying ceremony.”