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Ross’ RN RIB ride kicks off £1m Poppy Day drive across the capital

2 November 2023
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Actor and gritty documentary maker Ross Kemp brushed off Storm Ciaran to kick off a £1m Poppy Appeal fundraising day in the capital courtesy of the Royal Navy.

The former EastEnder and presenter of a string of hard-hitting real life shows was delivered to the heart of Westminster courtesy of a RIB from HMS President.

It was the signal for around 2,000 personnel from all three services to begin rattling tins at 70 sites around London on behalf of the Royal British Legion and the biggest street collection of its kind in Europe.

Just in case they missed the military personnel on station concourses, musician and TV presenter Jools Holland and DJ Ken Bruce recorded announcements encouraging people to dip into their pockets.

Ross (and the crew from London’s Royal Naval Reserve HQ) braved the elements for the blustery 2½-mile ride up the Thames from HMS President, at St Katherine Dock, to Westminster Pier in the shadow of Big Ben, stepping back on land at 7am.

“This is such a special day where Londoners get the chance to meet service personnel in person and thank them for all they do for us. I hope everyone really gets behind London Poppy Day to help the RBL achieve its target of raising £1 million in a single day,” said Ross.

“Wearing your poppy truly shows the Armed Forces community that you care about their service and sacrifice, and the money raised will help the charity continue its vital work supporting members of the Armed Forces community in need all year round.”

Now in its 17th year, London Poppy Day sees not just serving personnel but hundreds of veterans and RBL volunteers at key sites and locations, such as major Tube and railway stations. At some sites, they are being joined by military bands and choirs.

This year, for the first time, they’ll be offering plastic-free poppies to donors – the first redesign of the iconic symbol of Remembrance in a generation.

The collecting continues until 7pm.

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