New windmill poppy created by Market Harborough firm for the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal

The new Poppy Windmill
The new Poppy Windmill

A new Royal British Legion poppy  product has been made for this year’s 100th anniversary commemoration by a Harborough firm.

Make A Material Difference Ltd, based in Harborough, has invented the “windmill poppy” with a long stalk, its petals designed to revolve in the breeze.

The Poppy Windmills were designed by a team based at the Harborough Innovation Centre, Market Harborough.

“The Poppy Windmill is very beautiful and blows peacefully in the breeze,” said company director Leigh Onslow.

“It has an innovative mechanism at the centre, so it has been design registered to protect the intellectual property for any charity who might wished to licence it.”

The design was inspired by the propeller of the World War I Sopwith Camel aeroplane.

It is launched in the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

“I hope the RAF are particularly pleased,” said Leigh Onslow, the company’s director who is herself a pilot.

The Poppy Windmills have not been marketed on any websites as yet.

The Presentation Box version is a limited edition and is only available in very small numbers across the country.

A hand-held Poppy Windmill is readily available, however, through your local Poppy Appeal volunteer fundraisers, all Royal British Legion branches throughout the country and most Poppy Appeal stands.

The poppies are made from a recycled and recyclable polymer.

The Harborough design company behind the new poppy, specialises in designing products made from alternative materials such as biodegradable, degradable, water soluble and fully
recyclable polymers.

It also creates environmental science equipment, educational equipment, charity fundraising ideas and charity collection boxes.

The Poppy Windmills have been tested for use by adults and children aged three-plus.

The company says they are even robust enough to be placed in the garden wind and snow for a few months!

The Royal British Legion fundraising teams are reporting that they are already receiving donations for the Poppy Windmills from between £4 and £10.

“We are really hoping these will go a long way to help raise funds for this important cause all year round, from this year onwards,” said the company’s Shelley Jones-Fenleigh, who created the presentation box design.

The team at the Harborough Innovation Centre have had to keep the new Poppy a big secret.

“Make a Material Difference Ltd staff have been appearing with arms full of prototype poppies for the last year,” said Leigh Onslow.

“They were dashing through reception in the hope that no one would spot them!”

The final version of the Poppy Windmill appeared on the reception desk at the Innovation Centre last week.

Make A Material Difference Ltd is “descended” from Leicester firm Invicta Plastics, founded by Edward Jones-Fenleigh in 1946.

But Invicta, whose most famous product was the game Mastermind, went into administration in 2013.

The directors of the company bought part of the old business and its assets when they created Make a Material Difference Ltd, with subsidiaries Invicta Charity Products and Invicta Education.

Edward’s three daughters Leigh, Shelley and Aven, are still at the helm of the new company.