News story

Chancellor praises Yorkshire poppies

Chancellor visits the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to see the poppy sculpture at its first location on tour.

'Wave' poppies art installation

Chancellor George Osborne today visited the construction of the iconic poppy sculpture Wave, soon to be on full display in the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, after government funding saved it for the nation.

Wave was part of the 888,246 ceramic poppies on display at the Tower of London to commemorate the First World War last autumn.

The majority of poppies were sold to raise money for military charities, and the government donated up to £1.1 million by waiving the VAT on these sales. However, two sculptures from the overall display, Wave and Weeping Window are now touring the country thanks to a £550,000 donation from the government and support from charities the Backstage Trust and the Clore Duffield Foundation.

This government funding came from fines levied on banks for fixing the Libor exchange rate. It is part of more than £500 million from banking fines pledged by the Chancellor to support military good causes and emergency service charities since 2012.

Wave is a curling swathe of poppies which rose up to create an arch over the entrance to the Tower. Weeping Window is the cascade of poppies that was seen pouring out of a high window down to the grassed moat below.

Visiting Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Chancellor said:

Each one of these poppies, made in Derby and displayed at the Tower London last year, represents a British and Commonwealth soldier who answered the call from their country a century ago and made the ultimate sacrifice.

But not everyone who wanted to see them could come to London, so I agreed to provide £550,000 of support to help take part of this extraordinary display on a tour around the country.

I’m delighted that people here in Yorkshire, as well as others across the country, will be able to see these fantastic displays and pay their respects to those who sacrifice everything to protect British freedoms.

Last year, I also waived the VAT on the sale of these poppies, donating up to £1.1m to six charities who provide valuable support to injured Armed Services personnel and their families.

This funding came from Libor fines on banks, and it is only right that we use the fines from those who’ve demonstrated the worst of values to support those who demonstrate the best of values every day.

I’m also proud to say that this government continues to recognise that Britain has always been resolute in defence of liberty and the promotion of stability around the world.

That’s why I recently committed to meet the NATO pledge to spend 2% of our national income on defence every year of this decade.

Walking through the field of poppies

The two sculptures, which together have nearly 10,000 poppies, were gifted to charities 14-18 NOW and Imperial War Museums.

Wave will be on display at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park from 5 September until January 2016. Weeping Window will be exhibited at Woodhorn Museum, Northumberland, and then St George’s Hall in Liverpool. The locations for 2016 are due to be announced on 16 September 2015.

Published 25 August 2015