22 Oct Poppy Appeal launches with portraits that show how COVID has changed lives of veterans | UK News
Portraits that show how COVID-19 has changed the lives of veterans and service men and women are being released to mark this year’s Poppy Appeal.
The photographs include veterans in care homes, shielding poppy sellers who are unable to operate as normal, and members of the Armed Forces called up to work on the front line.
They were taken on people’s doorsteps and windows during the coronavirus lockdown.
Former soldier Lawrence Philips, 29, is featured with his fiancée Danielle, who credits the Royal British Legion with saving his life during the pandemic.
Support from the charity helped him through unemployment and spiralling debt.
RAF doctor, flight lieutenant Samantha Rawlinson has been working in intensive care at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham and is also included in the portraits.
She said: “The need for the Poppy Appeal hasn’t gone away just because there are fewer collectors on the streets this year.
“I have seen the impact of the pandemic first-hand, and know how important it is for those within the Armed Forces community who are in need to have organisations like the Royal British Legion to turn to.
“The services they provide are still desperately needed which is why it’s so important for people to show their support.”
Barry and Tricia Oldham, both in their 70s, also had their photos taken.
They have been supporting the Poppy Appeal for the past 10 years, but are unable to go out selling this year as they are both shielding.
Instead they are encouraging friends and neighbours to donate online.
This year there will still be 15 million paper poppies available at supermarkets across the country, but people will be able to pay by contactless and QR codes.
Second World War veteran Bill Taylor, who served on board the cruiser HMS Emerald on D-Day, had his picture taken too.
He said: “This year has been very tough having been unable to go out, meet with friends and mark significant anniversaries.
“However, I admire those who have been on the front line dealing with this terrible virus day-to-day, they have shown the same sense of duty that my generation did during the Second World War, they are the ones now protecting our society.
“So, although I won’t be able to march up to the local memorial this year to remember those we have lost, I will proudly observe the silence on my doorstep and wear my poppy, as I do every year, with pride.”