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White poppies in Aberystwyth

In a respectful, poignant and moving white poppy ceremony in Aberystwyth, about 50 people from the area gathered on Remembrance Sunday to commemorate those who have lost their lives through war or in the preparation for war.

The white poppy is a symbol of grief for all people of all nationalities, armed forces and civilians alike, who are victims of war.

A silent vigil for peace by Aberystwyth Women in Black preceded the ceremony which combined songs, poems and words of peace and reconciliation. In addition to David Roberts’ poem, ‘There will be peace’, Harry Rogers read his own powerful and moving ‘White Poppies’ and ‘Son’, the latter written in response to the loss of a friend’s son in Afghanistan, and the inimitable choir, Côr Gobaith, sang songs of remembrance, peace and hope.

Apparently the only town council in the UK to do so, has laid a white poppy wreath every year since 2005.

Previously, however, this has happened on the Saturday before Remembrance Day with the council removing the wreath after the ceremony. A couple of years ago, a group decided that we would return on the Sunday with our own wreath and have our own ‘service’ and leave the white wreath with the others. This year the council joined us and placed their wreath alongside ours on the memorial where it remains.

A participant at the ceremony commented how it ‘was really encouraging and powerful to have the one event, attended by all on Remembrance Sunday’.

Three white poppy wreaths were laid, nestling amongst the red, one by the youngest member of Women in Black, one by Côr Gobaith and one by the town council.

Further information on the white poppy: Peace Pledge Union