By Charlene White, ITV News presenter
I have decided once again not to wear a poppy on screen.
It was not an easy decision in light of the racist and sexist abuse that I received on social media last year.
It is a subject that provokes a lot of debate and anger – but it is one that I feel strongly about.
I support and am patron of a number of charities, and due to impartiality rules, I am not allowed to visually support them all whilst presenting news programmes.
That includes things like a red ribbon for World Aids Day, or a purple band for Bowel Cancer Awareness Month.
Both these and many more charities do great things in the UK, but I’m not allowed to give them exposure on screen.
So I feel uncomfortable supporting just one charity above all others, namely The Royal British Legion, but I fully support my colleagues who do choose to wear the poppy on screen.
In my private life, it’s very different.
I wear a poppy on Armistice Day, in fact I wear one that my friend’s mum knitted for me a few years ago.
And I’ve also bought one of those incredible ceramic poppies which can currently be seen at the Tower Of London.
And every year I donate to the British Legion. Money which the charity desperately needs for the work that they do to support serving and ex-service men and women and their families.
So please don’t think that I don’t support the work that our service personnel do, or that I don’t understand the sacrifices made by servicemen and women 100 years ago. I do.
I come from a Forces family. My Dad served in the RAF, and my uncle served in the Army.
I spoke to them both six years ago when I first decided not to wear a poppy, and they both support my decision.
But I don’t expect everyone to support it.
However it is always important to remember what my family, your family, and millions of people over many generations have fought for: the right to choose, and the right of freedom of speech and expression.