This year the Royal British Legion is celebrating its centenary - marking 100 years of remembrance.
And this year’s annual Birmingham City Poppy Day provides a great opportunity to celebrate the return of its street collectors who have been helping the charity to fundraise over the course of the century.
Over 200 members of the Armed Forces, supported by over 100 volunteers, were out in full force for Birmingham City Poppy Day - the largest one-day street collection in the Midlands.
The appeal aims to raise £50,000 across Birmingham - as well as awareness for the good causes it promotes.
What happened at the Birmingham City Poppy Day?
The day included entertainment, including a military band, a 1940s singer and a Winston Churchill Impersonator at various city centre locations, including Grand Central.
A special ceremony where Birmingham’s emergency services and frontline workers paid homage to the UK’s fallen military at Brindleyplace on Westside was also held. Professor Carl Chinn recalled the history of Remembrance Day at that event.
The ceremony included performances by West Midlands Police Brass Band, conducted by retired policeman Cornell ‘Barney’ Barnes, who served 25 years in the Army and another 25 years-plus in the police before retiring aged 66 in 2016.
Why Army veterans are supporting the Royal British Legion and what it means to them
Yanto Evans, Community Fundraiser for Birmingham British Royal Legion said: “Since 1921 the Royal British Legion has been supporting the Armed Forces community and their families, both past and present. There are veterans who have returned from active service and injury and sometimes the British Royal Legion is the only organisation that is in a position to help them.”
Major Samantha Brettell, 11th Signal and West Midlands Brigade said: “I think it’s important because being in the army and staying in the army for a number of years, whether it’s for 20 or so years and then to go into a mainstream job, well they are always part of this group, which is a veteran of whichever service they’ve been in.
“So sometimes they need that extra support, as anyone might find they need extra help throughout their life and the British Legion can provide that for veterans.”
Dan Parkes, British Army Veteran, said: “I was in Afghanistan in 2009. I caught a blast on my ear, it perforated my ear drum and to this day I suffer with tinitus and sensory hearing loss.
“So for me the Royal British Legion has helped in various ways, including financial help, getting the right sort of help for the injury that I had. So I want to return the favour, really - raising awareness and getting the funds in and being behind Royal British Legion and the Poppy Appeal.
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