Poppy Man florist blames lack of entries on organisers

A DISGRUNTLED shopkeeper will not be entering this year s Poppy Appeal window contest because she claims it is poorly organised.

A DISGRUNTLED shopkeeper will not be entering this year's Poppy Appeal window contest because she claims it is poorly organised.

Christine Drew of The Sidmouth Florist, Church Street, says she is not surprised only eight stores are entering the contest, run by Sidmouth Royal British Legion.

Last year her Poppy Man display gained national media coverage and appeared on the RBL website, but she is opting out of the competition and says: "It is very badly organised and not many shopkeepers know about it.

"No-one comes around and asks us to do it, it is just assumed we know about it because it has been going a few years."

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Last year the George Hodges trophy for the competition was awarded to Knights and small cups were presented to runner-up Mrs Drew and barber John Hollick, who helped her make hundreds of poppies needed for Poppy Man.

Although she didn't mind losing, Mrs Drew said the way the prizes were awarded left her feeling "embarrassed and insulted".

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"Everyone was gathered at Knights and no-one said anything to me. We were ushered up to the War Memorial and photographs taken and this cup was shoved at me and I was told 'that is for what you have done'.

Her display this year, which is not being judged, is low key with a V for Victory in poppies.

"I am in support of the Legion's cause and will think about doing it next year if someone comes in and informs shopkeepers what is happening," said Mrs Drew.

Poppy Appeal organiser Liz Langham confirmed only "eight or nine" shops had entered this year's contest.

She is waiting to choose a winner with Legion president Eileen Hodges, who donated the shield in memory of her husband.

Mrs Langham said: "Because of the confusion last year I have spoken to Christine Drew and asked her to take the notice out of her window saying it is not in the competition, which I find highly offensive.

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