Silence to mark Armistice Day 2021 in Coventry city centre

Published Tuesday, 09 November 2021

Thursday 11 November sees the West Orchards Shopping Centre fall silent as 4000 poppy petals are dropped in memory of the country’s war heroes. 

The commemorative service, supported by West Orchards, The Royal British Legion and Coventry City Council, is a moving, reflective and poignant reminder to city shoppers, workers and residents, of those who gave their lives in service to their country. 

Armistice Day will be commemorated at the stroke of the eleventh hour, on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, with the traditional two-minute silence.    

This year marks the 100-year anniversary of The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Day commemorations and the nation continues to express continued and unwavering support for The Royal British Legion’s charity work, highlighting the need for help for the current serving generations in the Armed Forces and their families, today and for the rest of their lives.  

The first official Royal British Legion Poppy day took place in Britain on 11 November 1921, inspired by John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields”.   

The event begins at 10.50am with an introductory speech from West Orchards’ Manager Andy Talbot in the yellow corner of level 3. This is followed by an address from the Lord Mayor of Coventry Cllr John McNicholas, poems written and read by children from St Mary and St Benedicts schools and Remembrance Prayers by Celebrant Alan Penny.     

At 11am, the Last Post played by Coventry Corp of drums will sound and begin the two minutes’ silence, during which time thousands of poppy petals will be released to fall gracefully from the domed roof of the shopping centre.    

Gordon Garland from The Royal British Legion will deliver the Exhortation and Kohima in remembrance of those who lost their lives in battle.    

Andy Talbot, Manager of the West Orchards Shopping Centre, said: “We are pleased to be able to bring the Poppy Drop back to the West Orchards shopping centre after missing last year due to the pandemic. The Poppy Appeal is vital in order to help pledge support for those who have fought for their country and served in the British Armed Forces. As always, it remains a simple yet powerful service in which shoppers and visitors to the city centre can pause for thought to remember anyone who fought and gave their lives in battle, whether the First and Second World Wars or indeed in recent and continuing conflicts.”  

Lord Mayor of Coventry, Cllr John McNicholas said: “The Armistice Day Poppy Drop in West Orchards Shopping Centre is an important event in the city’s calendar made all the more significant this year by the centenary of the Royal British Legions’ Poppy Day. This is a great chance for shoppers in the city to pay their respects at this truly moving ceremony.”     

 The West Orchards Poppy Appeal has now begun.  

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