All aboard as Mayor launches largest ever Poppy Day

30 October 2012

London Mayor Boris Johnson today literally launched the most ambitious London Poppy Day ever as he sped down the Thames on a poppy branded Royal Navy RIB.

Arriving at the temporary mooring of HMS Severn in Canary Wharf, the Mayor was winched on board in the RIB to meet the captain and crew who are in the capital to help collect for London Poppy Day, part of The Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal. During the visit the Mayor bought a poppy from volunteers before being taken on a tour of the ship. He later returned to City Hall on the RIB.

Boris Johnson said: “It’s been a real honour to fly down the Thames on a Royal Navy RIB to help raise awareness for London Poppy Day and I am humbled to be standing shoulder to shoulder with those who serve. I know that Londoners will join me in showing their support for the Armed Forces and dig deep to help raise £1 million in a day.”

Following the Mayor’s lead, on the 1st November more than 2,000 volunteers representing the Army, Navy, RAF and a host of other companies will collect at 70 Tube and mainline rail stations for The Royal British Legion’s vital work supporting members of the Armed Forces past and present and their families. They aim to raise £1m in 12 hours during the capital’s largest and most ambitious street fundraising event.

The Mayor also marked the launch by being the first person to make a contactless donation to London Poppy Day. This will be the first time ever that London Poppy Day has gone contactless, with Barclaycard donating 400 mobile card payment terminals across the capital to drive donations from the public by using just their debit cards.

The money raised on London Poppy Day will go towards the Legion's overall Poppy Appeal fundraising target of £42 million. The Legion spends £1.7 million each week providing direct, practical support to the Armed Forces community.

Charles Byrne, Director of Fundraising at The Royal British Legion, added: “At a time when pride in the capital has never been higher, London Poppy Day is a chance for Londoners to show their support and gratitude for those who serve. Every year we have more than doubled the amount raised on the day. In 2011 we hit £450,000 – and this year we’re aiming to hit £1 million.”

Valerie Soranno Keating, CEO of Barclaycard, said “We are extremely proud to support London Poppy Day by enabling people to make donations quickly and simply by tapping their contactless credit cards, debit cards or payment enabled mobile phones.”