The First World War had an impact on every person in every town and village in the UK. One hundred years later we commemorate and remember the lives of the 16 million people that died then, the many more that have died in duty since, and all those whose lives have been affected by service. A truly heartfelt thank you for your sacrifice; we are forever indebted to your service.
Remembrance Sunday will mark the moment when at the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month 100 years ago, the end of the end of the First World War 1918 was declared. On Remembrance Sunday we will gather in the memory of those who displayed tremendous bravery, patriotism and selflessness and sacrificed their own freedoms to protect ours today. A humbling moment for us all, and even more so for me personally as this is my first Remembrance Day since joining the Reserves.
Working in London most of the time, you meet so many people from a diverse range of backgrounds but at this time of the year, everyone is united by one common feature: a red poppy. A simple, beautiful symbol of remembrance and hope. The story & poem behind the poppy is one which I believe everyone should know so if you aren’t familiar with it then you can read it here: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/remembrance/how-we-remember/the-story-of-the-poppy/
The Poppy Factory was originally set up to employ disabled members of the Armed Forces and each poppy sold is not only symbolic of the selfless admirable efforts of our Armed Forces and their families, both past and present, but also makes a valuable contribution towards fundraising for our Armed Forces community. These funds are then used to support our community in a variety of different ways.
I have the good fortune of working with the Armed Forces community on a daily basis and have so many powerful memories of seeing just how much they have flourished with the right support. Scrolling through my Twitter from the last week alone there are a plethora of examples to choose from. One example is Tommy Lowther of Sporting Force who overcame his battle with PTSD and is now running a successful business helping other Veterans access work opportunities with professional football clubs. Another example is RAF Officer Hannah Saunders who this week won a ‘Dragons Den’ style pitch at ‘Pitch It Wales’ to further her children’s skincare business Toddle and is going from strength to strength.
Being in the Armed Forces also affects family members so it is of vital importance that we ensure both our soldiers and their families get the support they need and so rightly deserve. At XFE we do seek to include family members in all opportunities we provide and we successfully launched our first ‘Empowering Armed Forces Widows Through Enterprise’ programme. Meeting the Widows and Widowers of the Armed Forces created mixed feelings of sadness for their loss but utter admiration for their dedication and drive to continue to follow their ambitions. As Paul Cumming, Trustee of the Forces Pension Society Charitable Fund stated, ‘The nature of Service life meant that the loss of a spouse left many finding themselves having to concentrate on managing and supporting families rather than developing their full potential and life skills. The work of X-Forces helped fill that gap – giving widows, widowers and dependents a chance to fulfil this lost potential and to help develop greater confidence and independence.’
It is a privilege to be working alongside such an inspirational community on a daily basis. This Sunday let us unite to honour our soldiers past and present. Thank you for your service. #LestWeForget