Creators of Tower of London commemorative poppies recognised with Tourism Society Award

Friday March 27, 2015

Tourism Society Annual Dinner
Thursday 26th March
House of Commons

On 26th March, on the occasion of the Tourism Society Annual Dinner, 140 Tourism Society members and their guests applauded enthusiastically as the creators of the First World War commemorative installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ received the prestigious Tourism Society Award.

The Award was presented by Tourism Society President Lord Thurso MP FTS, and on this occasion there were three winners: Historic Royal Palaces (represented by John Brown, Deputy Governor at the Tower of London), Tom Piper MBE who designed the installation, and Paul Cummins MBE who created the 888,246 ceramic poppies. Fiamma Montagu collected Paul Cummins’ award on his behalf. Cummins commented: “I’m extremely thankful to be honoured with this award for the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’. People travelled from all over the world as well as from across Britain to witness the poppies filling the tower moat – which was truly humbling as well as unexpected. I am so happy that the installation captured the hearts and minds of people all over the world, bringing people together in Britain to visualise the loss during World War 1.”

It is estimated that five million people visited the Tower of London to see the installation which was in place from July to November 2014. Each poppy was planted, and then removed, by one of thousands of volunteers, and all of the poppies that made up the installation were sold, raising millions of pounds which were shared equally amongst six service charities.

Guest dinner speaker Peter Long FTS, Chief Executive of TUI Group and President of the Family Holiday Association, spoke with passion about the importance of tourism to Britain at an industry and Government level, noting its considerable contribution to GDP, employment and exports. He also stressed the importance of holidays to everyone’s cultural and personal well-being. With around one third of British families unable to afford a holiday, Long emphasised the need to hold politicians to account, in particular with regard to the £500m that had been allocated to family breaks.

Commenting on the evening, Tourism Society Chairman Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE FTS said: “This has been one of our best dinners to date with an absolutely full-house and a most deserving group of Tourism Society Award winners. I was so pleased to see a very engaged group of students from the University of Hertfordshire in attendance, who all had the opportunity to talk to Peter Long. A great experience for them, and overall a hugely enjoyable evening.”

She added: “This year’s award winners were a unanimous choice for the Tourism Society and the presence of the design and creative team and Historic Royal Palaces at the dinner last night was a fantastic addition to our splendid evening.”

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For further information, please contact:

Blanche Fitzgerald on 0207 269 9693 or 0207 269 9693 


Notes to editors:

Peter Long FTS, CEO, TUI Group

  • Chairman’s welcome:

Sandra Matthews-Marsh MBE FTS, Chairman, The Tourism Society

  • The event was held at The House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A 0AA
  • The evening was generously sponsored by: