Managers also gave work to 140 additional staff – mostly ex-service people and dependants – at the plant in Richmond, south-west London, and in its supply chain. Factory patron the Duchess of Cornwall unveiled the Sea of Remembrance created by workers at Westminster Abbey this week. Camilla, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and The Very Reverend David Hoyle, dean of the Abbey, attended a service open to just a few people, instead of the usual 1,200.
A spokesman for the factory said: “Since the pandemic started, we’ve been able to continue providing employment supporting veterans throughout England and Wales. Since the April lockdown we’ve helped more than 140 people start jobs in a range of sectors, and we will be supporting many more in the months ahead.
“We had a brief pause in activity while we put in protective measures.
“Then they were back in June to complete this year’s order for the Royal British Legion.”
Tower wave tribute by Sarah Ward
A huge cascade of 4,000 handmade poppies falls from a church tower ahead of Remembrance Day.
Parishioners cut out the poppies and sewed them onto netting.
The stunning wave display was hung from Orchardhill Parish Church, Giffnock, in East Renfrewshire.
Willie Hendry, 66, who organised it, said: “The poppies were made in 2018 to mark 100 years since the end of the First World War – the idea coming after going to see the Tower of London poppies.
“We thought it might be a good idea to create something like a waterfall made out of poppies.
“We used netting, cut them out and coloured them in. It was all volunteers who made it, everybody put their heart into it. It was real teamwork.”
The factory usually makes six million poppies, a million crosses and religious symbols, and 130,000 wreaths each year.
Comment by Will Quince
At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month, people across the UK will fall silent to remember those who lost their lives fighting for our country. We owe a debt of gratitude to them, and we will never forget.
Let us spare a thought for all veterans of today’s Armed Forces as they return to civilian life and fight to get back into work.
We want all our servicemen and women to make lives for themselves after they have left the Forces and provide security for themselves and their families.
This is why we created a dedicated Office for Veterans’ Affairs to champion their interests at the heart of government, and why we’ve introduced the veterans’ railcard, civil service interview scheme and a forthcoming national insurance break for employers of veterans.
One charity, the Poppy Factory in Richmond, has helped veterans with health conditions back into work since 1922.
Many of you wearing a poppy today might wonder where it was produced. The answer rests in the hands of their dedicated team of 24 veterans.
• Will Quince is the MP for Colchester