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Saturday, 3 November, 2001, 16:41 GMT
Black poppy marks poverty
Black Poppy
The black poppy intends to highlight world poverty
A Birmingham minister has created a black poppy to highlight the problems of world poverty.

But some British Legion members fear the symbol could cause confusion alongside their traditional red poppy campaign.

Reverend Simon Topping came up with the idea for the black poppy - with the phrase "Lest we forget the victims of debt" - for the Jubilee Debt Campaign.

Supporters of the campaign are now being urged to wear the black poppy as well as a red poppy in the run-up to Remembrance Day on 11 November.

But some members of the Royal British Legion are angry that the campaign has used the poppy symbol.

'Remember suffering'

They feel that with the timing of the campaign, people could be misled into thinking the legion has changed its colours.

Mr Topping, who is minister of Saltley, Small Heath and Stechford Methodist Churches in Birmingham, said the black poppy was not meant to cause any offence.

It is equally important to remember the daily suffering of people throughout the world

Reverend Simon Topping

He told BBC News Online: "The Jubilee Debt Campaign is 100% behind the poppy campaign and is not intended to offend anyone.

"I shall certainly be wearing both a red and black poppy."

He added: "It is not a question of mutual exclusivity but working together for two equally important issues.

Download poppies

"Remembrance Day is important because it is a time to remember the suffering of others.

"Every day 19,000 children die as a result of unresolved debt.

"We feel that while we remember those who suffered during the war, it is equally important to remember the daily suffering of people throughout the world."

The Jubilee Debt Campaign is urging people to download the black poppies from their website and either wear them or post them up in public buildings such as churches.

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