Governor launches poppy drive to aid veterans
The annual Poppy Appeal to raise funds for veterans and their families was launched by the Governor.
John Rankin bought the first poppy on Friday, from Carol Everson, a Bermuda Legion welfare case worker, alongside Second World War veterans Isobel Flood, 94, who served with the Royal Canadian Air Force, and Betty Vincent, 93, who joined the Women’s Royal Naval Service. He said after the event at Government House: “I am always pleased to support Poppy Day.
“Our veterans have given huge service and it’s right, both to remember that, but also to assist and support them, and all those who have served.”
Ms Everson added: “It’s absolutely vital ... and there are still conflicts in various parts of the world today.”
But she said: “We hope Bermuda will never again have to send Armed Forces to war because of the sense of duty and sacrifice of our present and past war veterans.”
The annual Poppy Appeal was inspired by In Flanders Fields, a poem by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, a First World War Canadian Army surgeon.
The appeal is used to raise funds for veterans in the run-up to the November 11 Remembrance Day commemoration of all those who fought in conflict or died on active service.
The appeal is backed by The Royal Bermuda Regiment, whose predecessor units saw action in both World Wars, both here and abroad.
A tag day will be held in Hamilton on November 6, with Mr Rankin, Lieutenant Alex Gibbs, his Aide-de-Camp, and other soldiers on the streets selling the distinctive red poppies alongside civilian volunteers.
Major Ben Beasley, second-in-command of the RBR, said: “Remembrance Day is a poignant event for reverence and solemn reflection on the sacrifice that the generations before us made.
“We enjoy freedoms that were only possible because of those who gave much, and often everything, so many years ago and in conflicts since then.”
He added: “As members of the RBR, we’re honoured to be able to continue the tradition of commemorating those who went before us.”
Major Beasley said that the RBR had its own tradition of service to others, especially in hurricane relief in Bermuda and abroad. He added: “It is also a time to remind ourselves that our duty is to put others’ needs before our own, at home and overseas.”
A special gala concert, featuring the Somerset Brigade Band and guest performers, will also be held at the Anglican Cathedral in Hamilton on November 9. Tickets are available from the Royal Bermuda Regiment headquarters at Warwick Camp or the Bermuda Legion.
Ms Everson said that there were still more than 140 surviving Second World War veterans or widows of veterans in Bermuda, who needed extra support as they became increasingly infirm.
• Anyone in need or people who would like to volunteer as poppy sellers can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 703-1020. Tickets for the concert can also be bought through the same contact details
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