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Three millions petals to be dropped over the Thames

Three million poppy petals - symbolising the dead of the two World Wars and all the conflicts since then - will be dropped from two original World War II aircraft over the Thames on Thursday night.

The Royal British Legion and Shell are working together to stage the flypast in a move to boost the annual Poppy Appeal for 2004. The London night skyline will be lit up with spectacular red light projections, with moving images of poppies cast onto Shell Centre. The light show will run for four nights through to Remembrance Sunday.

The two minute fly past of two Douglas Dakota DC3 aircraft will take place at 6pm. The flight path will start at Tower Bridge, with every bridge from Tower Bridge to Westminster Bridge lit up in red, along with other prominent landmarks including the London Eye and National Theatre.

Brigadier Ian Townsend, Secretary General of The Royal British Legion, said: “We are delighted that Shell has chosen to help The Royal British Legion to highlight Remembrance and the Poppy Appeal in this way. Today is Armistice Day, the day the guns fell silent at the end of the First World War. Sadly, it was not ‘The War to End all Wars'. The Second World War followed and there has only been one year since then in which a serviceman has not been killed or injured on active service. Today, we remember them and the price of freedom. We hope that this Poppy Drop brings our message into people's everyday life for, despite the passing of the years, the need for the Legion's help remains as strong as it ever was.”

Mary Jo Jacobi, Vice President of External Affairs, Shell International, added: “Shell is proud to be supporting the Royal British Legion to mark Armistice Day and commemorate the start of Remembrance Weekend 2004. We hope the support we are providing to help stage the ‘poppy drop' will encourage people across the country to buy their poppy before Sunday.”

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