The great white poppy debate ...

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It’s a symbol that has devided opinion, brought scorn and resentment from is detractors and is something that its supporters say, has been missunderstood since it first appeared over 80 years ago.

But now the congregation of Leslie Baptist Church says it wants to answer those misconceptions and bring about a wider acceptance of the use of the white poppy within the annual service of remembrance.

A formal request was made to the town’s community council last month by Pastor James Faddes on behalf of his church, seeking to be included in the main ceremony at Leslie war memorial.

Last year the church laid a traditional red poppy wreath to honour those who gave their lives in conflict.

It also placed a white poppy tribute a few minutes after as an act of peaceful remembrance for all those innocent casualties.

“As a church we wish to contribute fully to the remembrance ceremony in order to honour those who sacrificed their lives in conflict, but to also show our commitment to peace and our belief that there must be other ways to resolve conflict,” explained Pastor Faddes.

He added: “We have requested that we be allowed to lay two wreaths, a red and a white one, to say yes, we stand together with the community and that we also remember the many hundreds of thousand of innocent people who lose their lives as a consequence of war.

“In no way do we wish to offend anybody with our request and would never seek to impose it - we understand it’s an emotive subject and we want to just dispel any of the misunderstanding as to what the white poppy is and what our request stands for.

“It’s a way of celebrating peace and the courage to find another ways to achieve it.”

Because of the sensitivity surrounding this topic, community council members are seeking the views of residents as part of the process to find a suitable solution.

“This can be a very emotive subject for many people because this service is a very special event, said Jan Wincott, community council chairman.

‘‘Already a variety of points have been made thoughtfully and with respect, and this is absolutely the way that this discussion has to be held.

“The Community Council doesn’t want to rush into a decision on this matter without giving the wider community a chance to have their say and so we are looking for people to contact me to let me have their views.

‘‘We will then discuss the matter again at our next meeting where again we would like to see as many people as possible in attendance so that they can make their views known.”

Father Gerand Hand of St Paul’s and St Mary’s Catholic Church who also attended last month’s meeting, said he understood much of Pastor Faddis sentiments and has called upon the public to sensibly engage in the debate as well as seeking further discussion with all churches and organisations involved in the ceremony.

“It’s a decision that can not be rushed or be taken lightly and one in which many will have a view. Therefore the community as a whole needs to make their views known.” said Father Hand.

The issue will be discussed at Leslie Community Council meeting on Tuesday, September 15 held at Leslie Primary School from 7.30pm.