Over 30 military serving personnel and veterans – including two from Yorkshire – launched this year’s Poppy Appeal by taking the first official poppy across London from the Royal British Legion’s headquarters to Downing Street.
In the inaugural Poppy Parade today, the procession – made up of people who have benefited from the work of the Legion – walked past the Houses of Parliament, up Whitehall to the Cenotaph and on to No 10 to meet Prime Minister David Cameron. Among the group was Lyndon Chatting-Walters, 25, from Leeds, who served as a combat engineer in the 23 Engineer Regiment but was medically discharged after suffering severe spinal injuries in Afghanistan in 2008.
He went on to complete a rehabilitation course at the Legion-funded Battle Back Centre, which led to him securing a job as an outdoor instructor and helping other casualties of war.
He was joined by Corporal Linda Noble, who was chosen to carry the poppy for the first stage of its journey through London.
Currently based at Catterick, Cpl Noble, who is married with two children, has been in the Army for over 15, now serving in the First Military Intelligence Corps. Her husband, Alexander, a veteran, was medically discharged after a parachute accident and has since received support from the Legion’s Independent Living Team and Benefits and Money Advice Team.
National president of The Royal British Legion Vice Admiral Peter Wilkinson said: “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.”
Regional events to mark the Poppy Appeal’s launch include a family day at Catterick Garrison on Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and a ceremony at the Light Shopping Centre in Leeds on Friday, where veterans, supporters and councillors will gather at 3pm.