STAFF at an army surplus shop were surprised to see a wild poppy spring up at the feet of a model soldier recently.

A solitary bright red poppy has grown at the feet of the fibreglass soldier who stands guard at the Genuine Army Surplus Store on North Road in Darlington.

Owner Jack Thompson said he’d been surprised when a member of staff spotted the poppy – a poignant symbol of lives lost at war.

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He said: “I just thought blinking heck, that’s unusual. Our shop front is massive and for all the places to grow, it grows at the feet of our soldier.

"He's not a realistic soldier, we just use him to model our clothes and he's stood there for years but it seems very fitting and I think it's a nice little tribute."