A COLCHESTER historian and author has brought together a collection of Remembrance poppies to be displayed at a charity shop. 

Heather Anne Johnson knows all their is to know about Remembrance Poppies and their inventor Anna Guérin. 

After publishing her book in 2022 about the French woman, who came up with the idea and introduced it to all English-speaking First World War allies, she has now created a display of her own.

The collection of poppies can be gazed upon at St Helena Hospice Books, Brew & Boutique shop in Stanway. 

“I have always supported the English and Scottish Poppy Appeals, my late father was Scottish, but, until 2015 I had not considered how Poppy Days had started,” said Mrs Johnson.


“But a Canadian lady asked me what I knew about this Madame Anna Guérin she had read about in archived Canadian newspapers - what did we know about her in Great Britain?   

“Well, I knew nothing, so I began researching her.  She was rarely mentioned in versions of the history of the Remembrance Poppy - when she was, she was only a name.” 

The poppy collection at the charity shop features one of the original poppies made by Anna Guérin herself in 1921, which was distributed on British streets. 


It was the start for Mrs Johnson, who said: “Having my collection at St Helena Hospice BBB has not been about the collection, it is all about pushing how Remembrance Poppy Day is Anna Guérin's legacy.    

“The collection has only had one airing - in France last year and I thought it would be good to do it again, at the BBB unit where I feel very comfortable.” 

Her extensive research can be read in her book The Poppy Lady, as well as on her website, alongside a timeline about the red flowers we wear today.


Kevin Banham, shop manager of St Helena Books Brew and Boutique, said: “We are delighted to share some space in our shop to display this wonderful collection.  

“Heather often pops into the café at the back of the store for coffee and a cake, and we love listening to the stories of our customers, so when she told us about the collection, we were happy to help.” 

The display will be at the shop in Stanway until Saturday 6pm.