Removal of Tower of London poppies 'at halfway point'

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Media captionThe Tower of London moat is visible again after the removal of the poppies

The Tower of London says half of its 888,246 ceramic poppies have now been removed.

Volunteers have been removing around 75,000 poppies per day from the moat since 12 November.

The last poppy is scheduled to be removed on 28 November but a Tower of London spokeswoman said it could be sooner.

Around 11,000 volunteers will have taken part in the de-installation by the end of the month.

A spokeswoman said there were no special plans for the last poppy.

She said: "It will be put on the lorry with the rest of the poppies and posted out at random."

At 18:00 GMT on Tuesday around 444,000 poppies remained to be picked.

Volunteers work in three-hour shifts to remove the pieces of art with around 1,000 people working throughout the day.

Image copyright PA

Each poppy is dismantled by a volunteer before being sent to a distribution centre to be cleaned and packaged.

Poppies are then posted to members of the public who purchased them for £25 each.

All net proceeds are shared between six service charities, including Help for Heroes and the Royal British Legion.

A Tower of London spokeswoman said the first people had just started to receive their poppies. It is thought sales could raise in excess of £15m.

More than 17,000 volunteers spent months installing the hand-made poppies this summer - each representing a British and Commonwealth soldier who died during World War One.

Interest peaked in the artwork entitled Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red on 11 November when thousands gathered to hear the final names from the roll of honour read out.

It is estimated that five million people have visited the art installation since August this year.

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