Prince Harry opens 90th Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey

HRH the Duke of Sussex will today (Thursday, November 8th) open the 90th Field of Remembrance at Westminster Abbey, three days before the centenary of the end of the First World War, to remember those in the Armed Forces who have lost their lives.

Organised and run by The Poppy Factory on the same site since 1928, the Field has 370 plots laid out with more than 60,000 Remembrance symbols, made by wounded, injured and sick veterans and dependents of veterans working year-round at the factory in Richmond-upon-Thames.

The symbols are planted according to names of military organisations and associations on the North Green of the Abbey, most bearing a poppy and often with a hand-written message from family, friends or comrades.

The Poppy Factory employs around 30 veterans and dependents of veterans with physical and mental health conditions, making the Remembrance symbols for the Field as well as wreaths and poppies for The Royal British Legion and the Royal Family.

More than 1,000 wounded, injured and sick veterans around the UK have now been supported back into meaningful employment in their communities by The Poppy Factory since 2010. The charity works with businesses around the country to transform the way employers think about recruiting people with physical or mental health conditions.

The Poppy Factory’s Chief Executive, Deirdre Mills said:

“It is a great honour to have His Royal Highness return to open the Field of Remembrance in its 90th year, just days before the centenary of the end of the First World War. This year feels especially significant to all of us at The Poppy Factory, including our production team in Richmond-upon-Thames who have once again been working hard all year round.

“We will always value the opportunity that this ceremony gives to remember those who have lost their lives in conflict, and to think of the many thousands who are still here and need our support.

“Those with physical and mental health conditions can feel vulnerable and may struggle to find meaningful work after being discharged from the Armed Forces. By working with wounded, injured and sick veterans to increase their confidence, independence and job-readiness, The Poppy Factory helps them gain access to a more positive, secure and successful future.”

The Field of Remembrance was started in 1928 by the founder of The Poppy Factory, Major George Howson MC, together with a group of ex-Servicemen with disabilities at St Margaret’s Church. They gathered around a wooden cross taken from a battlefield grave of an unknown British soldier and invited passers-by to plant a poppy around a wooden cross.

At the opening of the Field, The Poppy Factory’s President, Mrs Sara Jones CBE DL, will invite the Duke of Sussex to lay a Cross of Remembrance followed by Last Post, the Exhortation to Remembrance, a two-minute silence and Reveille before the Duke of Sussex tours the plots meeting veterans.

The Field of Remembrance will stay open until Sunday 18th November and members of the public are invited to lay their own crosses. Proceeds from the Field are given to The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

 

Notes to editors

Media Facilities

For media facilities at the Field of Remembrance please contact the Communications team at Westminster Abbey:  020 7654 4926 press@westminster-abbey.org

For media enquiries about The Poppy Factory, please contact Dan Hodges on 07496 645 869 or email danh@poppyfactory.org

The Poppy Factory

The Poppy Factory is now the country’s leading employability organisation for veterans with mental and physical health conditions. From its base in Richmond-upon-Thames, the charity provides tailored support across England and Wales to help ex-Forces men and women with health challenges to return to meaningful work.

The Poppy Factory works with many businesses around the country to transform the way employers think about recruiting people with physical or mental health conditions.

The charity has helped more than 1,000 individuals into work since it started its Getting You Back to Work programme in 2010. The Poppy Factory aims to deliver the most effective support for its veterans and the service is built upon a solid evidence base. This has ensured that over 70% of veterans supported by The Poppy Factory have remained in work for 12 months or longer, which compares significantly higher than other services.

The Poppy Factory estimates there are at least 20,000 wounded, injured or sick veterans of working age in the UK who are struggling to get back into work after leaving the Armed Forces, based on the Ministry of Defence Annual Population Survey1, the Royal British Legion Household Survey (2014)2 and the Equality and research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission3.

  1. MOD Annual Population Survey: UK Armed Forces Veterans residing in Great Britain, 2016
  2. Royal British Legion Household Survey (2014)
  3. Being disabled in Britain: a journey less equal, Equality and Human Rights Commission

The Poppy Factory also employs around 30 veterans and dependants with health challenges at its factory in Richmond, producing Remembrance products for the Royal Family and for The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

If you would like to support us or know more about our work please visit www.poppyfactory.org

Follow The Poppy Factory on social media – Twitter: @poppyfactory / Facebook: @ThePoppyFactory / Instagram: @thepoppyfactory / LinkedIn: The Poppy Factory

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