More than a thousand British Army volunteers were at Network Rail and TfL underground stations in London today (3 November 2022), offering their support to the Royal British Legion as the service charity attempted to raise a million pounds on London Poppy Day. From paper poppies to poppy jewellery, all were on offer from the friendly faces in uniform in return for a donation.
Royal British Legion Ambassador Ross Kemp launched the day’s fundraising events at Horse Guards in Whitehall, alongside members of The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, the Scots Guards, the Irish Guards and their Irish Wolfhound mascot Turlough Mor.
I hope everyone will really get behind London Poppy Day Ross Kemp
Actor and hard-hitting documentary maker, Ross Kemp, encouraged Londoners to purchase a poppy from the more than 2,000 Armed Forces personnel, veterans and Poppy Appeal collectors that were out in force across the capital.
He said: "This is such a special day where Londoners get the chance to meet service personnel in person and thank them for all they do for us.
"I hope everyone will really get behind London Poppy Day and help the RBL achieve its target of raising £1,000,000 in a single day.
"The money raised will help the charity continue its vital work supporting members of the Armed Forces community in need."
This year, the charity is urging people to wear a poppy to show that they care and that the service and sacrifice of serving personnel, veterans, and their families will never be forgotten.
Poppies have been worn since the 1920s as a visible symbol of support to the Armed Forces and in honour of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
Drummer Walsh from the Irish Guards was really proud to be part of the day. His grandfather fought at the Battle of Arnhem and was captured by the Germans. He said: “The reason I wear a poppy is to remember him and his mates who didn’t come back”.
The Royal British Legion uses money raised to support bereaved service families and serving and veteran personnel in need.
Former Maths and Physics high school teacher Lance Bombadier Moore from 19 Regiment Royal Artillery met Ross at the launch while selling poppies at Horse Guards.
He said: “I come from a little Caribbean country called Belize. I was born and raised there but joined the Army to be a part of an organisation that has helped my country often. I think it’s important for us to be here on London Poppy Day because remembering the past and the sacrifices people have made before us is the best way not to forget what has happened.
Only by remembering the past we aren’t condemned to repeat. I am proud to be here today collecting on behalf of the Royal British Legion, to those of the service community that may need help. LANCE BOMBADIER MOORE,
19 Regiment Royal Artillery
“Only by remembering the past, we aren’t condemned to repeat. I am proud to be here today collecting on behalf of the Royal British Legion, to those of the service community that may need help.”
Tri-service troops from across the UK joined the Army at rail and tube stations across the capital to sell poppies to commuters, residents and visitors to London.
British Army Bands performed free concerts for the public, from 7 am to 5.30 pm at Mainline Train Stations across London: familiar tunes raising the mood and bringing smiles to normally determined faces.
Other Poppy Days have been organised across the UK, from Cardiff to Manchester, Birmingham to Leeds, but London’s is by far the biggest.
The first London Poppy Day was in 2006 and started with 10 volunteers raising £500. The organisers of that first day were volunteers from the RBL’s Lloyds of London Branch and were all veterans.
London Poppy Day is now the largest street collection of its kind in Europe. Today, it offered a unique opportunity for the public to meet military personnel and the veterans who were collecting, face to face, and show their support.
The ambitious aim to raise £1 Million for the Poppy Appeal in a single day is to enable the RBL to continue its vital work supporting members of the Armed Forces’ community in need.