(Photo: Royal British Legion)

Cenotaph vigil opens Royal British Legion's 2014 Poppy Appeal

Posted on centenarynews.com on 24 October 2014
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A sunrise to sunset vigil at the Cenotaph in London, involving members of the public, the British Armed Forces and the singer Joss Stone, launched the Royal British Legion's annual Poppy Appeal on October 23rd 2014.

'The Watch' was inspired by the images of the repatriation of the Unknown Warrior in 1920 when Guards of the Watch kept a vigil by the coffin as a mark of respect.

In the year marking the Centenary of the First World War, the Royal British Legion is asking people not just to commemorate the memory of the fallen, but also to focus on the future of the living. 

Grammy and Brit Award singer Joss Stone, who's teamed up with guitarist Jeff Beck to record this year's official Poppy Appeal single, said it was an honour to be involved with a "fantastic charity." 

The chosen song is a cover of 'No Man’s Land (Green Fields of France)', written in 1976 by Eric Bogle. It reflects on the grave of a young man, Willie McBride, who died during the First World War and its chorus refers to 'The Last Post' and 'The Flowers of the Forest'.

Remembrance

Taking part in the first 'Watch' of 2014 was 29-year-old former Royal Marine Pete Dunning, who lost both his legs in a bomb explosion in Afghanistan. 

He said: "I'm honoured to be a part of this historic event. The Royal British Legion is the nation's custodian of remembrance and this is a great way for anyone, whether they have served or not, to remember a loved one and celebrate our Armed Forces."

The Legion helped Pete by making adaptations to his family home which have aided his daily living. He now works for the Legion as a community fundraiser in his home town of Wallasey

The Royal British Legion organises the annual Remembrance Sunday march past at the Cenotaph, the monument in Whitehall designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens after the First World War to commemorate those who fell.

The Legion's Director of Fundraising, Charles Byrne, explained: "Quite rightly that event is largely an opportunity for the armed forces and closely associated civilian organisations to remember and show their respect for those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice.

"The Watch is different. The Watch gives individual civilians, serving personnel and veterans the opportunity to remember a loved one, celebrate a family member who is serving or has served or to simply show their respect and support for our brave armed forces community."

The Poppy Appeal is the Royal British Legion’s major annual fundraising campaign.

Over the next two weeks, 45 million poppies will be distributed by 350,000 collectors, with the aim of raising £40 million to support the Legion’s work in providing practical, emotional and financial support to members of the British armed forces past and present, and their families.

Inforamtion & images supplied by the Royal British Legion 

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News