A businessman is taking a stand to make the town plentiful with poppies after a failed bid to get funding for free seeds to mark the centenary of the First World War.
Colin Smith, of Diamond Mowers in Bath Street, Harborough, was moved to take action after hearing the Royal British Legion failed to secure £92,000 to roll out the poppy seed-planting scheme.
Mr Smith said: “I was disgusted at the decision, considering they paid £100,000 to the Peace Pledge Union and £69,000 to an exhibition about Polari, a language used in the gay community in the 1960s.
“We question the decision makers at the Heritage Lottery Fund, what criteria they used and their qualifications to reach these decisions, especially as the poppy project was endorsed by Prime Minister David Cameron and Prince Charles.”
Mr Smith said the decision-makers failed to realise that were it not for the people who fought in wars to protect the country, there would be no heritage left to protect.
Both Mr Smith and his employees at Diamond Mowers want everyone to be able to commemorate the centenary by planting poppy seeds all over Harborough. They are now giving away packs of poppy seeds for free.
They normally cost £1.49 a pack.
The packs are available from his premises in Bath Street and there are also some available at the Mail’s office in 9 Northampton Road or at Harborough FM’s studio in Fernie Road.
He said: “We want everyone to commemorate this centenary next year by planting the poppy seed between August to October, or from March to May.”
There are 5,000 packs available and people are being urged to collect theirs now to ensure they are planted in time.
Mr Smith added: “We feel if we can get 5,000 packets of poppies planted within the Harborough area it is a good start to achieving what the Royal British Legion were looking to do and hopefully if other people and companies join with us then together as a country we will be overflowing with poppies for the centenary year to commemorate all our heroes from the wars.”
If schools or churches would like to take advantage of the free packs for pupils or parishioners, they can call the firm to get some on 01858 463932.