Wear your poppy in print

This year we’ve partnered with the Royal British Legion to support the 2021 poppy appeal with this bold poppy tote bag for the Poppy Shop.

Caroline Gardner poppy tote bag
2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the Poppy Appeal. The initiative started in 1921 thanks to the work of the founder of the RBL, Earl Haig, and Anna Guérin. Mrs. Guérin was already active in the United States, where the poppy was being promoted as a symbol for remembrance by professor and humanitarian Moina Michael. She was inspired by a poem written in 1915 by Liutenant John McRae after losing one of his friends on a battle field in Belgium.

In Flanders' fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place: and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders' fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe;

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high,

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders' Fields.

poppy fields

In 1921, Anna Guérin moved to the UK, where she used her experience as fundraising and working with military widows to promote the poppy as remembrance symbol. The British Legion was persuaded by Mrs Guérin to adopt the poppy and placed orders to manufacture nine million poppies to distribute in the hope of raising funds for veterans and families of soldiers who had passed away. Anna Guérin was commissioned with one million poppies, which she manufactured in France, but 8 additional million poppies were produced in the United Kingdom. The initiative was a success, with more than £100K was raised. The poppies were so popular that volunteers and collectors had to improvise with whatever flower was available to cover the demand.

The overwhelming success of the 1921 Remembrance Day encouraged the opening of the Poppy Factory, here disabled ex-servicemen could find employment. Forty-one veterans were employed and delivered 30 million poppies for Poppy Day in 1922.

Poppy factory

The Poppy Factory continued growing in its new Richmond location, becoming a place where veterans can find employment and support for physical and mental health issues.

The Poppy Appeal today

During its 100 years, the poppy design evolved and so did its meaning. The poppy is today a “symbol of remembrance and hope for a peaceful future” and a way to remember and honour “the support and sacrifice of the Armed Forces, veterans and their families’. In fact, the Royal British Legion is not only a charity focused on the support of current and former solders, but it offers guidance and assistance to their families and carers.

The Poppy Appeal today is a reminder of the continuous support of compassionate and caring humans who want to offer help from day one of service through the whole life of individuals in the Armed Forces and the ones close to them.

After 100 years, the poppy still represents a poignant symbol to remember and honour those who “gave their lives for our tomorrow”. With no political connotation whatsoever, the poppy brings people from different ethnicities, genders and religions together.

Today, there is a wide range of poppies available. From fabric, to pins and brooches, to downloadable prints, everyone can find the perfect poppy for themselves.

Caroline Gardner tote bag

The Royal British Legion

The Royal British Legion is a charity with a clear objective: providing “lifelong support to serving and ex-serving personnel and their families”. The RBL offers a complete and comprehensive support, including financial and employment advice, facilities and activities for physical and mental recovery and help overcoming the challenges of the return to civilian life.

Ways you can get involved

We at Caroline Gardner are partnering with the Royal British Legion with our poppy bag. It is available on the Poppy Shop, where all products profits will go to the Royal British Legion. You can buy poppy pins and brooches and many other products with a poppy design, including our tote bag, to support the RBL.

After last year’s halt due to COVID-19, collectors are back in local communities across Great Britain to distribute poppies and collect donations.

Read more about collectors here: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/stories/meet-our-poppy-appeal-collectors

The charity also organises events to raise awareness and funds with 5 km Poppy Run and “The 11/11 challenge” which encourages participants to choose a challenge involving the number 11 to be completed by the 11th November. You could bake 11 cupcakes, write 11 cards to your loved ones, sing 11 songs, but do not forget to share your efforts and challenge 11 friends to spread awareness!

Read more about the 11/11 challenge here: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/things-to-do/events/11-11-challenge

We are delighted with the way the bag has come out and are really proud of this fabulous collaboration which not only has produced a gorgeous bag but one will support an important cause. We hope you love it as much as we do!