With the second national lockdown now in force from today, Thursday, November 5, the Royal British Legion is calling on people to use remote and socially distanced methods to honour the service and sacrifice of all who have served with the British Armed Forces this weekend.
Remembrance services and parades across the UK have been impacted by Covid-19 related restrictions, with fewer events taking place across the nations and a scaled back service at the Cenotaph, in Whitehall.
With many people no longer able to take part in Remembrance events, the Legion is asking the public to play their part from home and participate in remote acts of Remembrance including standing on their doorstep during the Two Minute Silence, displaying a poppy in their window, and watching the Festival of Remembrance and service at the Cenotaph on BBC One.
Most of the Fields of Remembrance that usually take place across the UK have also been cancelled, and instead the Legion has a virtual Field of Remembrance on its website for people to make and view tributes online.
The charity has also issued an urgent plea for people to donate to the Poppy Appeal online this year.
With millions of people across the UK now unable to leave their homes to find a poppy, and with the charity pulling all face to face collections owing to the new lockdown rules, the Legion is urging people to make a donation online and download a poppy to display in their window.
The Royal British Legion’s Director General, Charles Byrne said: “Remembrance is a unique time in the year when people from all communities, cultures and ages come together and pay tribute to the service and sacrifice of our Armed Forces community, past and present. This year, however, we can’t stand together at Remembrance services and therefore the Legion is urging people to participate remotely and visually show their support by placing a poppy in their window, or standing on their doorstep for the Two Minute Silence.
“This will be the first time in the history of the Poppy Appeal that our volunteers will be unable to carry out face to face collections anywhere across the UK. The loss of that activity could run into millions of pounds in fundraising which means online donations are crucial, and so we’re asking people to support the Poppy Appeal by donating via the Legion’s website.
“Every poppy counts so whether you choose to print off a downloadable poppy from the Legion’s website or draw your own, we are calling on everyone across the nations to unite in a UK-wide show of support from home, display a poppy in their window in time for Remembrance Sunday and pay tribute to our Armed Forces community.”
Never before in the charity’s history, even throughout the Second World War, have all face to face collections been cancelled, and the loss of vital funds could impact the support the Legion provides to hundreds of thousands of members of the Armed Forces community each year. The Legion has put contingency plans in place to cover the eventuality of a full lockdown during the Appeal, including its online donation facility, text to donate options, and working with supermarket partners to provide till point donations.
For those who can leave their homes, poppies are available at major supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Asda, with Sainsbury’s and Morrisons also offering an option to donate at the till. Larger Post Offices will also have poppies available.
The Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal takes place from October 22 until Armistice Day on November 11. Approximately £50 million is raised each year during this vital fundraising period and is used to provide life-long support to serving and ex-serving members of the British Armed Forces, their families and dependants through hardships, injuries and bereavements.
More information on ways to support the Poppy Appeal can be found at www.rbl.org.uk/poppyappeal