Servicemen and women descended upon London today to lend their support to The Royal British Legion’s (TRBL) annual London Poppy Day.
Taking a break from their duties at home and around the globe, around 2,000 personnel from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force gathered to greet commuters at 70 underground and mainline railway stations across London, as part of a bid to raise more than £1 million for TRBL in 24 hours.
The day began with the official fundraising launch in Covent Garden, where Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Service personnel joined celebrity supporters. Soprano Laura Wright, the official anthem singer for the England Rugby Team, and Lance Corporal Richard Jones, winner of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent 2016, were in attendance.
Military bands brought smiles to the faces of those heading to work and uniformed collectors gathered donations while Defence Ministers Earl Howe, Mike Penning, Mark Lancaster and Harriett Baldwin helped the fundraising efforts at Waterloo Station. The Band of the Grenadier Guards and the Royal Marine Unarmed Combat Display team livened up the busy Waterloo concourse in support of the appeal.
The Defence Secretary said:
Remembrance is an important time for those serving and who have served in our Armed Forces or who are thinking of loved ones in that position. Britain’s Armed Forces continue the proud traditions and achievements of those who have gone before. We should all lend our support to the Poppy Appeal to show that we too recognise the continuing sacrifice they make for us all.
Scotland’s capital city was also awash with poppies for the fourth Edinburgh Poppy Day, with military volunteers collecting on the streets, transport hubs and shopping centres. TRBL and Poppy Scotland launched their Poppy Appeals last week. And last night (2 November) the City Veterans’ Network kicked off London Poppy Day with a fundraising dinner with guests including members of the military, celebrities such as actor Liz Hurley and Defence Minister Mark Lancaster.
Remembrance Sunday falls on 13 November this year and members of the Armed Forces around the world will mark the occasion. 2016 has seen a number of First World War anniversaries - the Battle of the Somme and the Battle of Jutland – and other notable milestones such as the 60th anniversary of the Suez Crisis and the 75th anniversary of the Arctic Convoys.