This year’s Poppy Appeal will mark the third time that Dorset Police will be showcasing a specially decorated police car with red poppies to demonstrate the Force’s support to the Royal British Legion’s annual appeal.
The specially branded car will be attending a service in West Bay on 1 November and will be part of the Bournemouth Remembrance Service on 11 November.
From Monday 12 November the vehicle will be back out on patrol across North Dorset and will continue to hold the poppy design for the next three weeks.
Officers from across the county will also be attending ceremonies and laying wreaths to remember those who died in conflict.
Dorset Police Chief Constable James Vaughan said: “Each year the support for our poppy car has grown and we receive hundreds of positive comments from serving and retired army personnel, and the public.
“I am pleased that we are yet again able to show our support to the armed forces in such a public way, particularly as we mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
“We hope that the car will encourage people to go out and buy a poppy ahead of this year’s Remembrance Day and actively engage with the Royal British Legion’s campaign.”
More than 40 million poppies will be distributed by 40,000 dedicated collectors during this year’s appeal.
The money raised in Dorset will go towards the Legion’s record national fundraising target of £50million, the highest ever set. These funds will help the Legion continue to support today’s armed forces community through hardships, injury and bereavements.
Craig Spence, area manager for The Royal British Legion for Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, said: “This is the third year that Dorset Police have proudly supported the Legion in this way and we’re delighted to be working with them once again in this very special centenary year.
“This Poppy Appeal, as we mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, the Legion is calling on the nation to say Thank You to the entire First World War generation who served, sacrificed and changed our world.
“This is a creative way to raise the profile of the Poppy Appeal and we hope that the car will encourage the public to support the appeal and to take a moment to reflect on the contribution of not only the British Armed Forces during the First World War but those who fought alongside them from today’s Commonwealth and the countless men, women and children who played their part of the home front.”
As a result of the public’s support in the last year, The Royal British Legion has been able to answer more than a million requests for help from the armed forces community.
Colonel Jason Williams, commander of The Armour Centre and Bovington Garrison, said: “This year marks the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice between the Allies of WW1 and Germany. We will mark it as we always do, by remembering the ultimate sacrifice made by so many, particularly those from Dorset.
“We have a large military population, both serving and veterans in the county and the poppy car is a great way to demonstrate the mutual respect and co-operation that exists between the military community and Dorset Police.”
The Legion uses public donations to support in many ways including providing crisis grants, offering the children of armed forces personnel adventure breaks, researching the impact of blast injuries on the body, lobbying the government on key issues and advising on benefits and money problems.
Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill said: “The poppy car commemorates the service and sacrifice made by all members of the British armed forces.
“However, this year I feel it is particularly appropriate and poignant to remember the officers and staff of Dorset Police who gave their lives in battle in the First World War. The sacrifice of officers like William Alfred Painter, who was a police constable in Wareham before he joined up to serve his country.
“We must never forget the bravery and courage shown by so many during the First World War and this year I would personally like to dedicate the poppy car to officers like William Painter and indeed to all the emergency service staff who have given their lives in battle. The poppy car is a small token of remembrance from grateful colleagues.”