Dame Barbara Windsor and Shane Richie take over station announcements to raise money for London Poppy Day

02 November 2017

Passengers travelling on the Tube today will hear the familiar voices of Dame Barbara Windsor and Shane Richie urging Londoners to give generously to support The Royal British Legion's London Poppy Day - the largest and most ambitious one-day street collecting event of its kind.

Transport for London (TfL) has teamed up with the TV stars for its annual support of London Poppy Day to help raise funds the Royal British Legion's vital work of providing lifelong support for the Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force, Reservists, veterans, and their families.

Thousands of uniformed personnel from the Royal Navy, British Army and RAF will be at the ready with collection tins at 40 Tube stations across London, with a special collection taking place on-board a Circle line train from Westminster to Edgware Road, led by Richard Jones - serving officer and 2017 Britain's Got Talent winner.

In keeping with TfL tradition, seven London buses have been wrapped in distinctive Poppy Livery, which will be out on London's roads during the Remembrance period from 28 October to 12 November. Military bands will also entertain commuters at Canary Wharf Station.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: `Like Londoners across our city I am proud to be supporting London Poppy Day, and would like to extend my thanks to the hundreds of volunteers from TfL, Network Rail and the Armed Forces who make this day a success year after year.

`I urge Londoners who are passing through our stations today to donate whatever they can in support of the Royal British Legion's vital work with the Forces, veterans and their families."

Mike Brown MVO, London's Transport Commissioner, said: `TfL has a longstanding special relationship with the Royal British Legion and we are extremely proud to support their fundraising for veterans, serving personnel and their families on London Poppy Day. We are encouraged by the generous spirit Londoners show each year by giving what they can, and we're delighted to once again join forces with Dame Barbara Windsor and welcome Shane Richie, as they record Tube announcements, asking Londoners to give what they can.'

Claire Rowcliffe, Director of Fundraising, The Royal British Legion, said: `London Poppy Day is a fantastic part of the Poppy Appeal that simply wouldn't be possible without the thousands of people who make the day a success, for which we cannot thank them enough. Having serving personnel collecting all over the city reminds us that the Armed Forces community are all around us today. We want the poppy to be a symbol of hope for them and their future just as it honours the memory of the fallen.'

London transport has been connected to Remembrance Sunday since 1920 when bus staff were given the right to march alongside the armed forces by King George V, in recognition of the services rendered by the men who drove buses to the front line in France and Belgium from 1914-1918.

This year 48 Members of the London Transport Old Comrades Association, led by retired bus driver, Barry Osborne, will take part in the annual Remembrance Sunday parade to the Cenotaph on Sunday 10 November in honour of the 4,500 transport workers who died in the two World Wars and other conflicts.

Barry Osbourne served in the Royal Signals from 1969 to 1974, serving in BAOR (British Army Of the Rhine) UK and N. Ireland and joined London Transport in 1974 as a bus driver based at Hackney Well St, Ash Grove and Barking. Pauline Cottram, former London Underground Signal Operator, who joined WRAF in 1968 - 1974, and stood Guard of Honour for the Queen, will bear the wreath. And former train operator, Gary Best, who served in various roles during his 37 year stint at TfL will lay the wreath. He served in the Royal Aux Air Force from 1985 to 1990 at RAF Wroughton and RAF Hullavington.

Since November 2008, war veterans have been able to travel on the Tube, DLR, Overground, TfL, National Rail services within London, London buses and Trams for free with a Veterans Oyster Photocard as part of the Mayor's voluntary concessionary travel scheme.


Notes to Editors:

  • Images of wrapped buses and celebrity recordings are available here https://www.flickr.com/photos/tflpress/albums/72157665735232539
  • The seven Poppy wrapped buses can be seen on bus routes 8,10,12,60,179, 211 and 221 from 20 October
  • Since November 2008, war veterans have been able to travel on the Tube, DLR, Overground, TfL, National Rail services within London, London buses and Trams for free with a Veterans Oyster Photocard as part of the Mayor's voluntary concessionary travel scheme
  • As part of our Smart Sourcing project TfL supports ex-military men and women into civil employment. Details can be found here: smartsourcing@tfl.gov.uk.
  • The cost to wrap the poppy day bus wraps were covered by the operators.
Barbara Windsor and Shane Richie's voice can be heard at stations including:
  • Leicester Square
  • Covent Garden
  • Knightsbridge
  • Hyde Park
  • Tottenham Court Road
  • Warren Street
  • Charing Cross
  • Euston
  • Green Park
  • Victoria
  • Oxford Circus
  • Piccadilly Circus
  • Vauxhall