21 famous voices to be heard by millions of commuters across the transport network on London Poppy Day
Troy the Magician and X Factor stars Rough Copy to perform at stations on the transport network
London Transport Old Comrades celebrate their 91st anniversary
Transport for London (TfL) teamed up with a host of recognisable celebrity voices, Football Clubs and performers encouraged Londoners to give generously in support of The Royal British Legion’s London Poppy Day on 30 October 2014.
Twenty-one famous voices including Barbara Windsor, Brian Blessed, Joanna Lumley and Stephen Fry will be heard at over 70 London Underground stations, on all 8,500 London buses and 11 Network Rail main line stations. London Poppy Day is part of the national Poppy Appeal, which aims to raise as much money as possible in a single day to support the whole Armed Forces family.
To mark the centenary of the First World War, TfL has created a special poppy design with the line from the famous First World War poem by John McCrae, ‘In Flanders fields the poppies blow’. Poppies will be displayed on all Tube and Docklands Light Railway trains, the Emirates Air Line cabins and Trams. Two Tube trains, one on the Metropolitan line and one on the Circle line, a London Overground train and ten London buses will also be completely wrapped in the design. Two special 3D poppy bus shelters carrying the design will be located outside the Royal Albert Hall and South Kensington Tube station and the design will also be featured on 2,000 limited edition Tube maps.
Customers travelling on the transport network would have also noticed that some London Underground stations and Network Rail stations have been decorated in special poppy livery.
There was also special performances across the transport network on London Poppy Day, including tricks by magician Troy and a special live performance by X Factor stars, Rough Copy. Buskers, bands and choirs will also be performing across the transport network to raise funds for London Poppy Day.
TfL were provided free travel to all London Poppy Day volunteers on 30 October.
London’s Transport Commissioner, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, said: “It’s a great honour for us to be supporting London Poppy Day again. This time of year is always poignant as the nation remembers those who made such profound sacrifices, and this year is particularly important as we mark the centenary of the start of the Great War.
“People living and working in London will see our specially wrapped trains and buses displaying the poppy design, in honour of the 4,500 transport workers who gave their lives in both World Wars and other conflicts. This could not have been done without the support of our sponsors and celebrities and I would like to thank them for helping us mark London Poppy Day and raise awareness of a great cause.”
Visitors will have a rare chance to see London Transport Museum’s recently restored ‘Battle Bus’, in Covent Garden Piazza on London Poppy Day. The world’s only operational B-type bus, which was used to transport troops during the First World War, will be in front of the Museum’s entrance from 10am to 6pm on Thursday 30 October. London Transport Museum is also holding a poppy-making drop-in session for children and adults at the Museum between 1pm and 4pm. The hand-made poppies with black Tube roundels at the centre will be joined together to make a wreath which will be displayed at the Museum on the day. This activity will be repeated on Remembrance Sunday.
The train companies provided free travel to all volunteer collectors coming to London by train, from 29 to 31 October, to support the London Poppy Day fundraising event.
Mark Carne, chief executive of Network Rail said: “Each of our managed stations in the capital is doing something special to mark London Poppy Day as well as hosting volunteer collectors. Visitors to London Victoria station will see a military band as well as a free exhibition, created by the Rail Delivery Group, which brings together Network Rail and Britain’s train and freight operators, telling the story of the vital role Britain’s railway and its workers played in World War One. Network Rail has a long and proud tradition of supporting the work of the British Legion and our armed forces and is proud to do so again this year.”
Charles Byrne, Director of Fundraising at The Royal British Legion, said: “Our transport partners play a vital role in the success of London Poppy Day and we are very grateful for their ongoing support. On October 30th, Londoners saw stations and streets flooded with uniformed personnel collecting across the transport network all the way from Heathrow across to the Docklands supported by activities throughout the day. This will be the ninth annual London Poppy Day and we’re asking Londoners to dig deep and help make it the most successful one yet.”
On London Poppy Day, there was 2,500 volunteers collecting at 50 Tube and main line stations.
This year also marks the 91st year of the London Transport Old Comrades Association who will continue the tradition of marching alongside the Armed Forces and laying a wreath at the Cenotaph in the Annual Remembrance Sunday parade on 9 November. London’s bus staff were given the right to march by King George V who granted this honour to the staff of the London General Omnibus Company in 1920, in recognition of the services rendered by the men who drove buses to the front line in France and Belgium from 1914 – 1918.
Since November 2008, war veterans have been able to travel on the Tube, DLR, Overground, London buses and Trams for free with a Veterans Oyster photocard as part of the Mayor’s voluntary concessionary travel scheme. More than 6,800 Veteran Oyster photocards have been issued. This scheme is particularly beneficial to veterans who live in London and are not yet eligible for a 60+ London Oyster photocard or Freedom Pass.
TfL secured sponsorship from a number of its suppliers to display poppies across its transport network: Balfour Beatty Rail, Thales, Laing O’Rourke, Cleshar, Bombardier, Technoframe, Stuart Signs, KBH on Train Media Ltd, First Tram Operations, Serco Docklands, Mace Macro, Stagecoach, Abellio, Arriva, Go-Ahead, Metroline, Tower Transit, London United, Costain and Clear Channel.