Churches and other landmark buildings across Wales will turn red tonight (Oct 28) as this year’s Poppy Appeal is launched at Llandaff Cathedral.
The Royal British Legion is working in partnership with the churches, Cadw and the guardians of other historic and popular landmarks to illuminate more than 30 buildings from Criccieth to Cardiff Bay.
The appeal will be launched at Llandaff Cathedral at 6pm when the Dean, Gerwyn Capon, will be joined by Antony Metcalfe, the Legion’s Area Manager Wales, Falklands and Northern Ireland veteran Andy Davies, Poppy Appeal volunteer fundraisers and serving members of the Armed Forces to witness the switch on.
This year the Legion is encouraging people to “rethink Remembrance” during the Poppy Appeal 2016. The poppy and the work of the Legion are often associated with the First and Second World Wars and elderly veterans; however the charity is calling for people to consider all generations of the Armed Forces community when they wear their poppy.
Other churches going red for Remembrance are St Mary’s Church, Bodelwyddan, and St Giles Church, Wrexham. All the buildings will remain illuminated until Remembrance Sunday, November 13, as a mark of respect to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Battle of the Somme and Mametz Wood.
The Dean said, “We are delighted to partner with the Royal British Legion for the launch of this year’s Poppy Appeal. Llandaff Cathedral is only too well aware of the cost of warfare, having been devastated by a landmine during WW2 and being home to the Welch Regiment memorial chapel. It is important that we continue to remember the true cost of warfare and the great sacrifices made – both in the past and throughout the world today.”
Mr Metcalfe said, “We are grateful to Llandaff Cathedral, Cadw and everyone involved in turning Wales red. This is a real opportunity to make a uniquely Welsh statement.
“During the Poppy Appeal this year we’re asking people to widen their lens when they reflect on Remembrance. The Legion is here for all generations of the Armed Forces community, and it’s important to remember there’s a new generation that needs your support.
“When you pin your poppy on, or pause to remember, reconsider who you think of when you picture a veteran. Individuals and families from across the Armed Forces community need the Legion’s support, as well as our older veterans.
“Every donation received will make a real difference to the lives of Service men and women, veterans and their loved ones.”
The fundraising target in Wales is £2m, which will go towards the Legion’s national target of £43m to continue its vital work delivering practical, through life care and support to the Armed Forces community.
Andy Davies, 54, originally from North Wales but now studying at Cardiff University, was supported by the Poppy Appeal when he struggled to cope after serving with the RAF as an aviation engineer for 16 years. Chronically addicted to alcohol, he lost his job, his wife, his family and ended up living on the streets and then in prison. The Legion helped him get his life back on track by providing one months’ rent and a deposit on a place to live when he left prison. He is now studying for his PGCE at Cardiff University and spent the summer teaching English to international students.
Andy said, “I would never be where I am today without the help of the Legion’s Poppy Appeal. It provided me with a springboard to get up and achieve my full potential.”