EASTBOURNE’S MP Stephen Lloyd called into Sainsbury’s Arndale Centre store last weekend to support WW2 veterans Richard Austin-Cooper and Harry Summerton who were helping with the town’s purple poppy campaign.
The purple poppy pays tribute to all the animals who suffer and die as a result of war and a purple wreath will be laid at the war memorial this Sunday November 13.
Volunteers have been selling the purple poppies in Sainsbury’s, where the traditional red poppies are also available.
Organiser Bill Palethorpe said, “The reaction from the public has been tremendous, with many people welcoming the chance to tell their own stories of working with animals such as dogs, horses, mules and pigeons during the war.”
Mr Lloyd said, “So many innocent animals are killed alongside people in war. I fully support the purple poppy in appreciation of working animals together with our war veterans.”
Richard Austin-Cooper is president of the Eastbourne branch of the Royal Artillery Association, was in the SAS and also spent 10 years in the Intelligence Corps.
Harry Summerton is a member of the Submariners Association and the Royal Naval Association and is past president of Eastbourne Probus.
The purple poppy campaign is the original idea of animal welfare organisation Animal Aid. Support for the campaign is growing around the country and, in 2009 Eastbourne was the first town outside London to lay a purple poppy wreath as part of the official Remembrance parade and service.
Pictured left to right: Richard Austin-Cooper, Harry Summerton and Stephen Lloyd with Bill Palethorpe who organised the selling of the poppies in Eastbourne.