Wreaths for Remembrance Day

'Alongside victims of war, I felt I was also laying it for victims of Covid and for victims on our planet.’

Laura Conyngham laid the wreath on behalf of Exeter Quakers. | Photo: courtesy of Ian Martin.

Exeter Quakers were among the many Quakers who laid wreaths of white poppies for Remembrance Day. This year their annual wreath-laying, in Exeter’s Northernhay Gardens, was videoed and submitted to the council to be included in an online ceremony broadcast on Remembrance Sunday. The gesture followed a short-socially distanced Meeting for Worship between 11 and 11.11am.

Friend Laura Conyngham, who laid the wreath, said: ‘With silent worship with Friends, laying our white poppy wreath at Exeter’s War Memorial felt even more poignant than usual. Alongside victims of war, I felt I was also laying it for victims of Covid and for victims on our planet.’

Meanwhile, up and down the country, Friends laid white poppy wreathes in windows, doors and on walls, several images of which have been posted on the Quakers in Britain Twitter feed. 

Joanna Dales from Bentham Meeting told the Friend that on Wednesday 11 November at 11am Friends laid a white poppy wreath, among several red poppy wreaths at the War Memorial in High Bentham.

‘This we did at the invitation of the rector as part of the Remembrance Day Commemoration,’ she said. ‘Is this a first?’

According to Symon Hill from the Peace Pledge Union, white poppy wreaths were laid in ‘a surprising number of places, with people in some cases making sure they observed lockdown restrictions by having only two people at the wreath-laying and in other cases laying the wreath before the lockdown began’.

He said several of the wreath-layings were organised by Quaker Meetings.

‘We’re aware of white poppy wreaths (or similar) being laid in Aldershot, Bridgend, Brighton, Bury St Edmunds, Coventry, Edinburgh, Leamington Spa, Leicester, London, Norwich, Polmont, Saddlewoth, Swansea and Wensleydale. There were probably others.’

Between 300 and 400 people attended the annual Alternative Remembrance Day ceremony on 8 November, mostly online. Symon Hill said the figure ‘is definitely higher than usual’.

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