The 888,246 ceramic poppies that made up the stunning art installation at the Tower of London have been sold, raising $12.8 million (approximately £8 million) which will be equally distributed among six service charities.
The installation, called ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, was dismantled by around 8,000 volunteers from Historic Royal Palaces. The ceramic poppies, one to represent each person who laid down their life during the First World War, were sold for £25 each. The proceeds from the sale will be donated, with a spokesperson from Historic Royal Palaces confirming that each charity will receive over £1.2 million. Neither HRP, nor the manufacturers of the poppies, stand to make any profit from the sale.
The charities associated with this project are Cobseo, Combat Stress, Coming Home, Help For Heroes, The Royal British Legion and SSAFA.
Cobseo is the Confederation of Service Charities, providing a point of interaction between the Government, the Private Sector, and Royal Household and the Armed Forces Community. Cobseo works with the aim of allowing its members to interact and collaborate with others in order to receive the best possible support.
Combat Stress is a veteran’s mental health charity which provides free treatment and support to ex-servicemen and women who have been affected by depression, anxiety or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
The Coming Home Campaign is a fundraising campaigning for Haig Housing Trust, which provides accommodation for injured members of the Armed Forces. The homes, which have been specially adapted to suit their needs, give the servicemen and their families a chance to rebuild their lives. The Campaign is supported by the Prime Minister, David Cameron.
Help for Heroes is a military charity that supports wounded soldiers and their families to achieve their full potential. They work with a number of other service charities to create a national network of support. Help for Heroes is supported by both Prince William and Prince Harry, and even funded the British Armed Forces team at the Invictus Games.
The Royal British Legion is the largest Armed Forces charity in the UK. They provide emotional and financial support to past and present servicemen, and are responsible for the annual Poppy Appeal. Angelina Jolie, DCMG, recently chose the Legion as the charity to benefit from the UK premiere of her new film.
SSAFA, formerly the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association, have been supporting the British military since 1885. Nearly one hundred and thirty years later, they continue to be their for those members of the Armed Forces who need them.
When speaking about the amount raised from the poppies installation, Michael Day, the chief executive of Historic Royal Palaces, said: “We have been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of everyone involved, from the many volunteers that have helped plant the poppies over recent months, to the hundreds of thousands of people who have bought the poppies and will give them permanent homes across the UK and beyond.”
He continued: “It has always been our intention that the poppies installation would have a legacy beyond 11 November, so we are delighted that a part of this unique commemoration can be shared by the nation. We are grateful to the donors and to the Government for making this possible.”
The bright red poppies were planted in the Tower of London moat by about 19,000 volunteers, over a period of three months. The last of the ceramic flowers was planted on November 11th, Armistice Day, rendering the Tower a sight to behold, until the dismantling process began the very next day.
HRP recently announced two new works of art featuring the poppies – ‘Weeping Window’ and ‘Wave’ – that have been created courtesy of donations from the Backstage Trust and Clore Duffield Foundation. These large-scale structures will travel around the UK from 2015 to 2018, backed by government funding, before going on display at the Imperial War Museums in London and Manchester.
If you missed out on a chance to buy a ceramic poppy, you can still make a donation to the six charities directly through the Historic Royal Palaces website, should you wish to do so.
Photo credit: © Jessica Hope / JHope_RoyalCen
Featured photo credit: © Richard Lea-Hair/Historical Royal Palaces