Gold poppy up for grabs in Michael Turner's annual Remembrance treasure hunt for Royal British Legion
A GOLD-PLATED poppy will be auctioned by Lymington sculptor Michael Turner as part of an annual treasure hunt to raise money for the Royal British Legion.
The internationally renowned stainless steel artist has worked on a collection of 11 hand-crafted flowers which he will hide across the New Forest on Remembrance Sunday.
Michael has also crafted a further 11 stainless steel poppies which he will auction in aid of the RBL – including a 24-carat gold-plated bloom, completed free by Bournemouth firm Ecoplating.
Michael said: “I’ve been organising the poppy hunt for seven years now and people always really love getting involved.
“I haven’t changed the concept too much because it seems to work really well – but this year we do have a 24-carat gold-plated poppy that will be auctioned along with a dining experience donated by the Chewton Glen.”
On Remembrance Sunday 14th November, Michael will hide 11 poppies before posting clues on his Instagram and Facebook pages.
With more than 4,600 Instagram followers and fans on Facebook, Michael anticipates hundreds of people will be taking part. Coverage in a number of national newspapers last week means people living further afield could get involved.
Michael said: “I usually start hiding the poppies at about 7am and try to do the final one by around 4pm when it is getting dark. I ask everyone who finds a poppy to make a donation to the Royal British Legion.”
This year’s collection feature a full stem and two leaves and one purple flower to honour service animals killed during conflicts.
Throughout the week Michael will also run an online auction for a further 11 poppies including the gold-plated flower, with proceeds donated to the RBL. Bids can be submitted by email or private message on Facebook or Instagram.
Michael always involves his wife Jenny and children Thomas and Eleanor in hiding the poppies across the area, and said it can be challenging to come up with new locations.
“Some of the poppies I’ve hidden in the past, like the ones at Lymington quay, have been found very, very quickly – it is simply down to race to the location,” he said.
“But I also like to come up with a couple more challenging spots that will involve a bit of effort to get there.”
Michael initially launched the poppy hunt in 2015 as a tribute to his two grandfathers who fought in the Second World War.
He added: “The idea is two-fold, really. I’m hoping to raise some money for the RBL but also inspire children to get involved in the treasure hunt so hopefully they can learn a bit more about the importance of the poppy day in a fun way.”
Michael specialises in creating life-sized stainless steel sculptures depicting animals such as horses, alligators, mythical creatures and birds of prey. Famous clients include celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay who has a full-sized gorilla sculpture in his flagship London restaurant.
To join the Great New Forest Poppy Hunt follow Michael on Instagram @michaelturnerstudios or visit his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Michaelturnerstudios