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Christine Lampard wears white poppy - what does it symbolise?

By Staff Reporter

The traditional red poppy sold to remember Britain's war dead and to raise money for veterans is facing growing competition - although not without controversy.

White poppies, a new shamrock-style poppy and 'bling' designer poppies have all made their mark in recent days.

Northern Ireland broadcaster Christine Lampard sparked debate when she sported a white poppy on ITV's Loose Women.

According to the Peace Pledge Union, they "represent remembrance for all victims of war, a commitment to peace and a challenge to attempts to glamorise or celebrate war".

Christine's decision was criticised and defended in equal measure. One viewer wrote on Twitter: "Wearing the white poppy is disrespectful to the men who died for us."

Pauline Ditch added: "I think this is disgusting as it is supposed to be red so everyone should wear red. My grandad was in that war so red it is."

But Noreen Gill wrote: "In my opinion poppies should be red. But I suppose people are entitled to their own opinion and wear what colour they want."

Another viewer responded: No 'suppose' about it. The right to do so is bigger than anything a poppy represents."

Sarah Montrose added: "Indeed, our servicemen fight for our freedom to do so!" Meanwhile, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has worn an Irish-themed red poppy badge to commemorate the island's war dead.

He wore the Shamrock Poppy in the Dail yesterday.

The move is symbolic of the greater recognition now afforded in the Republic to those Irishmen who fought and died serving in the British Army in the First World War, in the years prior to independence.

Given the Irish state's troubled history with Britain, the red poppy has never been embraced as a symbol of remembrance in the country. A spokesman for the Taoiseach said he had been given the Shamrock Poppy by a Fine Gael senator.

"The Shamrock Poppy recognises Irish soldiers who fought in World War I," he said.

"It was commissioned to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great War by the Irish branch of the Royal British Legion to remember the 206,000 Irishmen that fought, 26,500 of whom died in battle.

"Proceeds from the Shamrock Poppy go to Irish veterans and their families, and towards the upkeep to memorials to Irish soldiers in Ireland. All money stays in Ireland."

Recent years have seen an explosion of 'bling' poppies, which have been criticised for turning an expression of remembrance into fashion statements.

A few years ago, celebrities on the X Factor faced criticism for wearing designer emblems studded with crystals - although the money went to the annual Poppy Day appeal.

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