Poppy artist tells of death threats


Published: Sunday 15th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The artist behind the popular Tower of London poppy exhibition has revealed he received death threats from people angry that armed services charities stood to benefit.

Paul Cummins, who has been awarded an MBE along with designer Tom Piper, said the police were called in after threats came by email, phone and letter.

Millions of people queued in all weathers to see the Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red installation, which saw 888,246 ceramic poppies progressively fill the moat at the Tower – one for each British or colonial military death during the First World War.

Mr Cummins told the Sunday Times: “Some were by letter, some by email and some by phone, Even the police got involved. The threats came, I suppose, because they felt that the money was going to charities which in some way were involved in war.”

The poppies were sold off for a reported £10 million once the installation was removed from the Tower and the military charities that stood to benefit included Help for Heroes, the Royal British Legion and Combat Stress.

The Prime Minister and Royal Family were among those who planted ceramic poppies as part of the exhibit, installed as part of commemorations marking 100 years since the start of the Great War.

In her Christmas message the Queen spoke of her own visit to see them, saying: ”The only possible reaction to walking among them was silence.”

The exhibit was so popular a national campaign was launched to extend it.

Mr Cummins, from Derby, also told the paper he had offers to work on other ceramic projects, including one in Britain, another in Europe and one in “a distant part of the world”.

Published: Sunday 15th February 2015 by The News Editor

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