A North Devon based charity has co-ordinated a huge Poppies to Paddington operation to mark Remembrance Day 2020.
The Veterans Charity teamed up with Great Western Railway to ceremonially place around 150 poppy wreaths on early morning trains across the network today (Wednesday, November 11) to carry them to the capitol.
With many Remembrance events cancelled or reduced, the charity and GWR have been co-ordinating with volunteers, veterans and other organisations to get the poppies on the trains.
On arrival at London Paddington the wreaths were placed at the station’s iconic war memorial, on Platform 1, in time for the Remembrance Day service.
Veterans Charity CEO Danny Greeno helped kicked off the poppy pilgrimage by taking a wreath to Barnstaple Station.
D-Day veteran Harry Billinge MBE provided a VC wreath, sent from his home station of St Austell, as did Normandy veteran, Reg Charles, aged 97, from Weston-Super-Mare.
Danny Greeno said: “It was created by The Veterans Charity as a way of still honouring the fallen but in these difficult times of the pandemic.
“It has been held safely and has attracted huge media attention! GWR have been incredibly supportive and in total, more than 60 stations were involved and 10 trains.”
GWR’s head of communications Dan Panes added: “We all know how much change the pandemic has brought to everyone’s lives but we are determined Remembrance Day should be marked in the best way possible.
“Poppies to Paddington allows all those organisations who would usually be present for the Remembrance services at London Paddington and around the region to pay tribute to the fallen by laying a wreath.
“We are proud to be able to help in this way.”
Iain Henderson, charity trustee, said: “Thanks to GWR and our friends in HM Armed Forces, the emergency services and numerous other groups and charities who support veterans, Poppies to Paddington has meant that people from across the region could still pay respects and remember those who fought and remember those who died in conflicts from World War One to Afghanistan.”