Two JCB employees who saw active service in the armed forces are helping the company deliver on a pledge to ensure this year’s annual Poppy Appeal is a resounding success.
JCB has taken delivery of dozens of boxes of poppies for distribution across its nine plants in Staffordshire and Derbyshire ahead of Armistice Day on November 11th.
Co-ordinating the partnership are JCB Recruitment Business Partner Jason Gracey, who served in the Grenadier Guards for six years, and Early Careers Scheme Leader Chris Morris, who served in the Parachute Regiment and the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers as a Craftsman for eight-and-a-half years.
Jason, 47, of Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent, who attained the rank of Lance Corporal said: “From a personal point of view, the level of support JCB provides to the Royal British Legion is greater than anything I have experienced during my career with a number of organisations. It makes me feel proud and privileged to be involved in organising the scheme and to know that the money being raised is helping so many ex-servicemen, ex-servicewomen and their families who have made great sacrifices on behalf of their country.”
Chris, 44, of Biddulph Moor, added: “I was medically discharged after being badly injured during a tour in Northern Ireland so I know first-hand how invaluable Royal British Legion support is to veterans. It is not just about remembering those who died for their country in World War One and World War Two – it is about the modern-day servicemen who put their lives on the line, every day. That is why being involved in the Poppy Appeal through JCB is so rewarding. Both the army and JCB have been like family to me and so it is great I can be playing my part in this link-up.”
Special display and collection boxes have been set up in site receptions, offices and manufacturing areas, enabling both employees purchase the poppies. And, with Covid-19 safety in mind, there is a ‘cashless’ online donation option. People can scan QR codes displayed on the boxes or accompanying posters to donate via Apple Pay or through a debit or credit card.
In 2018 – to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of World War One – more than £25,000 was raised to support veterans when JCB auctioned off a one-off poppy-liveried excavator. In addition, a specially commissioned art installation was put on display to mark the centenary of the Armistice, featuring 255 porcelain poppies – one for each Uttoxeter, Rocester and Denstone person who lost their lives in the Great War. Also produced was a 40ft long pictorial roll of honour bearing the names of 50 JCB employees’ relatives – 21 of whom died in The Great War.
Anne-Marie Jones, the Royal British Legion’s Community Fundraising Manager for NE/NW Midlands, said: “While the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the ways in which we can deliver the Poppy Appeal this year, our community of staff, volunteers, partners and suppliers have been working together to ensure that the 2020 Poppy Appeal is able to go ahead and the nation can take part in Remembrance activity.
“We are really appreciative of the support offered by JCB with the poppy sales, with many staff across the company getting actively involved. Every poppy makes a difference to the lives of our Armed Forces community – every poppy counts.”