Parade passes through London to deliver first poppy to Prime Minister
Over 40 military serving personnel, veterans and their families took part in the inaugural Poppy Parade today – taking the first official poppy of this year’s Poppy Appeal from The Royal British Legion’s headquarters to Prime Minister David Cameron at Downing Street.
Mark Stonelake, 31 from Torpoint, Cornwall presented the first poppy to the Prime Minister outside No. 10 and collected his donation.
This first official poppy had earlier been handed to Corporal Linda Noble, 32 from Catterick, North Yorkshire by The Royal British Legion National President Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson CB CVO at the charity’s headquarters in Borough, London before setting off on a two-mile parade to Downing Street.
The procession – accompanied by military vehicles throughout the ages including a 1943 Humber soft top and 1942 Austin Ambulance – paraded across Lambeth Bridge, past the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, up Whitehall to the Cenotaph and into Downing Street.
The group carrying the poppy was made up of people who have benefitted from the work of the Legion. Last year the Poppy Appeal raised a record £45 million, which helped us deliver welfare support and projects including funding research into blast injury studies, specialist dementia care, funding theatre recovery projects and answering over 450,000 calls for help.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: "We will never forget all that our Armed Forces give for us, including those who make the ultimate sacrifice. By wearing a poppy we are not only showing our gratitude for all that they do to keep us safe, but we are also making a vital contribution to the important work that The Royal British Legion does to support the Armed Forces community.”
The Legion's National President speaking at the start of the parade at Haig House, said: “The Poppy Appeal 2015 invites you to uncover the stories behind the poppy, from its original meaning as a symbol of Remembrance and hope, to the stories highlighted at today’s Poppy Parade of individuals the Legion has supported.
“The poppy is a powerful symbol worn to commemorate the sacrifices of our Armed Forces, but also to show support to those still serving, veterans and their loved ones. The generous donations of the British public enable the Legion to help today’s Armed Forces community to live on after troubled times in happy and positive lives.”
Mark Stonelake speaking in Downing Street after the parade, said: “It was a privilege to be part of the parade and to meet so many brave and inspiring men and women. The Royal British Legion was there for me when I needed support so hopefully the Poppy Parade will remind people why it’s important to give generously during the Appeal.”
350,000 Legion collectors will distribute over 45 million poppies during this year’s Poppy Appeal.
For more information, interviews and images please contact The Royal British Legion press office at The Academy
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Poppy Appeal 2015
Read more about this year's Poppy Appeal and the surprising stories behind the poppy from the link below. Please donate as generously as you can and wear your poppy with pride.