· Large bespoke Poppies support Royal British Legion and Birmingham’s 2018 Poppy Appeal
· New city centre LED tree lighting system to create dramatic visual statement
· Lights will be used for ongoing seasonal celebrations and special occasions
Retail BID Birmingham is giving city centre visitors the opportunity to say ‘Thank You’ to all those involved in the war effort by displaying large poppies throughout the city centre retail area.
Twenty-five trees on New Street, Temple Street and High Street will be lit red using the Retail BID’s new LED lighting system for the duration of Birmingham’s Poppy Appeal – Thursday, October 25 until Armistice Day, Sunday, November 11 – to create a beautiful visual statement in support of the work of The Royal British Legion and to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
The Royal British Legion, which has a branch on New Street, provides lifelong support for the Armed Forces community – serving men and women, veterans, and their families.
By the end of the First World War more than a million British and Empire Forces were among the dead, a further 1.25 million were injured and a fifth were disabled for life.
Four million soldiers returned home to find a shortage of housing and jobs, and a struggling economy. Despite this they brought the same resolve to peace that they had shown in the war, helping to rebuild Britain.
Retail BID, the Business Improvement District for the city centre shopping and leisure area, is backing the Legion’s ‘Thank You’ initiative, which encourages people to get involved in all sorts of activities in memory of those who served, sacrificed and lost their lives in the First World War.
The Poppies were unveiled on Thursday, October 25, when the tree lights were also switched on. They will stay in place until Armistice Day, which this year has added poignancy, as it recognises 100 years since the end of the First World War.
Richard Norgrove, Chair of Retail BID, said: “Birmingham has a long history of supporting the Royal British Legion and it’s something we as businesses should respect and recognise.
“We endorse everything the Legion does and hope it can raise even more funds during the Poppy Appeal to support their great work.”
Steve Hewlett, Retail BID Manager, said: “Retail BID has made a significant investment by spectacularly lighting the trees throughout the area to support events and activities in the city centre and this was the perfect opportunity to launch the lighting and the large poppies in support of the Royal British Legion and to recognise all of our armed forces.”
Sophia Snell, Royal British Legion Community Fundraising Manager, said: “This Poppy Appeal, as we mark 100 years since the end of the First World War, The Royal British Legion is asking the nation to say ‘Thank You’ to the entire First World War generation who served, sacrificed and changed our world.
“Everyone has a reason to say ‘Thank You’. We all have a connection to the First World War and the Legion wants to encourage the people of Birmingham and beyond to recognise the legacy that generation left us, whilst also remembering today’s generation of veterans, those currently serving and their families. With this in mind we are very grateful for the support we have received this year from Birmingham’s own Retail BID who wanted to mark this centenary year with a display of poppies along New Street – a poignant lit up display that says Thank You to Birmingham’s own First World War generation.
“We hope this display will encourage people to think about the legacy that resonates through the city and also create awareness of the Poppy Appeal and its aims to support the Armed Forces community today.”