Royal Navy Commandos marched through Plymouth centre today to help the Royal British Legion (RBL) launch this year’s Poppy Appeal.
29 Commando (29Cdo) marched from their Citadel base into the shopping area and helped collect donations from shoppers for the Poppy Appeal.
The troops, under Royal Navy operational command, were supported by a four-legged attraction – Bob the horse – from Royal Navy and Royal Marines Riding Stables smartly dressed in poppies, and HM Royal Marines Band, Plymouth, HMS Raleigh trainees and sailors and Royal Marines from HM Naval Base Devonport. Other RBL attractions were a childrens choirs, and RBL ‘military village’ with a field gun crew and ‘field hospital’.
Organiser Carole Arnold said: “Every donation received will make a real difference to the lives of Service men and women, veterans and their loved ones. The Legion’s work is entirely dependent on the public’s generous support – so please wear your poppy with pride, knowing that you are helping the Armed Forces community to live on.’’
The event strengthens the basis of the newly signed partnership between the Navy and the RBL in the city to work together to achieve the mutual aims of the two organisations.
Warrant Officer Luke Allison, (29Cdo Battalion Warrant Officer), said: “Being involved in this event to launch the Poppy Appeal means a lot to me and the unit. We are enjoying the chance to directly interact with the people of
Plymouth and help increase awareness of the appeal and how it helps Service personnel.’’
Lieutenant William Petty, of 29Cdo, said: ”There is a lot of respect for the armed forces in Plymouth and this is mutual. We really appreciate the support of the community. We are honoured to help reinforce this strong link and help remember the role of the armed forces both past and now.’’
Injured combat veteran – former gunner with 29Cdo – Mark Stonelake has been spreading the word about how much support he and his wife and three daughters are having from the RBL after he was injured in the Afghanistan conflict.
He said: “I lost part of my leg while serving in Afghan in 2008 and injured my jaw and elbow. But I am recovered and the Legion has played a big role in this. They have provided a wet room, for instance, for me ever since my moblity was restricted and also us all.’’
Mark works with a care company Karlyon helping another former soldier with mental health issues lead an independent life. He said: “I can’t praise the Legion highly enough and their support is increasingly in demand. The Poppy Appeal is essential to this work.’’
In the meantime, a civic Remembrance Service will be staged on Plymouth Hoe at the Naval Memorial on Sunday 11th November.