Simon Kidd served for 24 years in the armed forces so was only too pleased to help get Stagecoach’s poppy bus back on the road to highlight the importance of this poignant time of year.
He is now using the skills he learned in Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers as Carlisle depot engineering manager for Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire which is backing the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal to help its annual fundraising mission.
He said: “I left the army in 2019 and have been all over the world, including three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan.
“So it’s really refreshing to see a national company like Stagecoach supporting the British Legion and advertising how the charity is continuing to help out service members and their families in difficult times.
“Personally I think about friends and serving members all year round that have been injured killed or maimed in active service in the line of duty.
“But gestures like this help remind people about the sacrifice a lot of people have made. We all need to be thankful for what we have got and how many soldiers have paid the ultimate price for the good of the population of Britain.”
“I think the Poppy Appeal is more prevalent in recent years, particularly bringing mental health to the forefront and highlighting the psychological impact on soldiers and their families.
“Hopefully this bus will be a reminder to wear a poppy and make a donation to think about people who have been in the armed forces,” he added.
The Royal British Legion estimates one in nine people in England and Wales are eligible for their support.
The charity has amazing support networks which assist people in many ways, like helping the homeless, adapting houses for elderly and disabled veterans, providing care homes for those who need them, or supporting the families of those who’ve fought for their country.
Stagecoach’s branded bus will be on the road throughout November and Alan Whitmore, community fundraiser for the Royal British Legion in Cumbria and the Isle of Man, says it is invaluable advertising for the charity’s work.
“We can’t afford commercial rates of advertising so for Stagecoach to offer this is tremendous,” he added. “It’s a gift-in-kind of fabulous generosity.
“This bus will be seen by thousands of people, in towns, cities and rural communities, raising awareness of the work we do.
“At The Royal British Legion we are proud to help facilitate remembrance and the memory of the fallen, and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
“However, we are also supporting the future of the living too. The Poppy Appeal plays such a huge part in what we can offer. It’s not about big donations – we know these are difficult times – but if everybody who can gives a little we will be able to do so much.”
Rob Jones, managing director for Stagecoach Cumbria and North Lancashire, says the company was delighted to roll out the Poppy Appeal bus again this year.
He said: “The Royal British Legion is a great charity that everyone can relate to and we are so pleased to be able to help raise awareness of their work.
“Though it will run predominately throughout West Cumbria, it’s going to be on regular routes through Carlisle, and we know thousands of people are going to ride in it, and see it on the streets. If those people give just a few pence to the Poppy Appeal, lots of vital money will be raised.”