The stars are out to shine as they pay a fit­ting trib­ute

Macclesfield Express - - TVWEEK -

Over the last few weeks, most of us will have wore our poppy with pride. But al­though we all know why we wear them – to com­mem­o­rate their ser­vice­men and women killed in all con­flicts since 1914 – not many know the real ori­gins of the poppy ap­peal.

Dur­ing the First World War much of the fight­ing took place in western Europe, and the pre­vi­ously beau­ti­ful coun­try­side was blasted, bombed and fought over, again and again.

The land­scape swiftly turned to bleak fields of mud where lit­tle or noth­ing could grow. How­ever, af­ter the con­flict, leg­end has it that the first glimmer of colour sprout­ing up in th­ese bar­ren lands were bright red pop­pies, and ever since then the flower has been con­sid­ered a sym­bol of hope for all those sac­ri­fic­ing their lives in con­flicts around the world.

The Poppy Ap­peal it­self was in­spired by First World War poem In Flan­ders Fields ("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.")

The im­age of the poppy was first adopted by the Amer­i­can Le­gion to com­mem­o­rate US sol­diers killed in the Great War, and they were then joined by mil­i­tary vet­er­ans' groups in parts of the former Bri­tish Em­pire.

To­day, they are most com­mon in the UK and Canada, and in the weeks lead­ing up to Re­mem­brance Sun­day, and over here they are dis­trib­uted by The Royal Bri­tish Le­gion in re­turn for do­na­tions to their Poppy Ap­peal, which sup­ports all cur­rent and former Bri­tish mil­i­tary per­son­nel.

Dur­ing this time, it is an un­writ­ten rule that all pub­lic fig­ures and those ap­pear­ing on TV must wear them.

Tonight, some of the big­gest names in mu­sic will be wear­ing their pop­pies at the Royal Al­bert Hall as they per­form in front Her Majesty the Queen and other mem­bers of the royal fam­ily to poignantly mark the oc­ca­sion.

Huw Ed­wards guides us through Royal Bri­tish Le­gion Fes­ti­val of Re­mem­brance 2015 (Satur­day, BBC1, 9pm), as vet­eran rocker Rod Stew­art (who also per­formed in this event back in 2012), singer-song­writer Pixie Lott, tenor An­drea Bo­celli and Amer­i­can jazz vo­cal­ist Gre­gory Porter per­form along­side the Cen­tral Band of the Royal Air Force, the Queen's Colour Squadron, the Band of HM Royal Marines and the Band and Pipes of the Brigade of Gurkhas.

At the end of the evening there will also be the tra­di­tional twominute si­lence.

In tune Rod Stew­art is among the per­form­ers.

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