Each year the nation expresses its unequivocal support for The Royal British Legion’s work through the Poppy Appeal.
This year, the Legion is focusing on the range of work it does to support Armed Forces families, whether they are families of personnel on active service, of those currently in transition from military to civilian life, or of veterans.
Every poppy helps us to support the British Armed Forces past and present, and their families. Please give generously and wear your poppy with pride.
Poppies were first suggested as a symbol of Remembrance in 1918 and were adopted by the American Legion in 1920. In 1921 the British Legion adopted it and the first Poppy Appeal was born.
The first appeal raised £106,000 (nearly £30 million in today’s terms) and all the poppies were supplied from France. In 1922 the “Poppy Factory” was established in the UK to keep costs down and employing disabled ex-Servicemen to make the poppies.
Note that poppies were ‘sold’ when the appeal started but charity legislation now requires them to be ‘distributed in return for donations’.
Over the past 15 years, the Legion has called on a variety of celebrities and beneficiaries to help launch and promote the Poppy Appeal, from a wide range of locations.
The year 1997 bridged the generation gap with The Spice Girls teaming up with Dame Vera Lynn. Dame Vera had an encore performance in 2009 pairing with Hayley Westenra. The music industry feature quite often with Westlife (1999), SClub 7 (with Thora Hird in 2000), Hear’Say (2001), Katherine Jenkins (2006) and The Saturdays (2010) all participating.
Sporting stars Kelly Holmes and Michael Vaughan featured in 2004 and 2005 respectively. In 2007, our beneficiaries took centre stage with a new star, Poppy Man, who went to Basra in 2008 for an award winning live broadcast.