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UK Minister plants poppies in Brussels for First World War Centenary

UK Minister for Africa Mark Simmonds planted poppies at the Edith Cavell memorial in Brussels to bloom for the First World War Centenary.

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UK Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds MP, today planted poppies at the memorial to British nurse Edith Cavell who was executed in Brussels during the First World War. The Minister was joined by schoolchildren from the British School of Brussels to plant the poppies. The children will keep the poppies at the British School to help them bloom in time for the start of the First World War Centenary Commemorations this August.

Minister for Africa, Mark Simmonds, said:

We should take this opportunity to remember the historic friendship of our two countries and the sacrifices that we shared together one hundred years ago. Edith Cavell was an extraordinarily brave woman and gave the ultimate sacrifice trying to protect injured servicemen in Brussels during the First World War.

It is absolutely essential that we commemorate the sacrifice both of Belgian people and of British people a hundred years on, and that we inform young people to ensure that there can be no repeat of the terrible trauma that was caused in that time.

Belgian Federal Commissioner-General for the Centenary of the First World War, Paul Breyne, said:

Poppies are flowers that grew in devastated fields during the years of the First World War. They then became a symbol for the British.

The Minister was also joined by members of the Royal British Legion, the Edith Cavell Commemoration Group, the deputy mayor of Uccle, and the Director of the Edith Cavell hospital. The memorial commemorates both British nurse Edith Cavell who was executed in 1915 and her nursing colleague Marie Depage.

A video report of the visit can be found on the site of Brussels Nieuws.

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Published 4 April 2014