By Mandy Shearing
THE British Legion Poppy Appeal was kicked off in style at HMS Collingwood over recent days with a charity bake sale and individual tributes across the Newgate Lane based training establishment; personnel also preparing for annual Remembrance events in Fareham and beyond this weekend.
In Warspite Building and in the Senior Rates’ Mess, staff were able to choose delicious cakes and cookies all baked or donated specifically to raise money for this year’s Poppy Appeal. Petty Officer (PO) Stephanie Arthur helped to organise the annual fund-raising event and explained why the Poppy Appeal was so important to her.
She said, “The Royal British Legion does so many great things for both veterans and serving personnel and this is a way to raise money to enable them to continue their work. We also want to raise awareness of the charity for junior members of the service and show how it can help them too.”
The two bake sales and donations collected at a recent staff fireworks event raised well over £400.
Across the establishment, individuals made their own contributions to the Remembrance theme with many poignant displays. A post box outside the Junior Rates’ Mess sported an impressive topper featuring the enigmatic face of a soldier, crocheted entirely by Nicky Stoneman, the webmaster.
She said, “I began creating post box toppers in lockdown as something to cheer up my local community and, having now made over 10 toppers, the Remembrance Day offering is one of my most poignant, and most challenging as I didn’t have a pattern to base it on!
The webmaster continued: “Having worked at HMS Collingwood for 22 years I was grateful Captain Davey allowed me to display ‘Tommy’ on the post box near Howe building. The aim is to prompt discussion and awareness of what it symbolises and the wonderful charity of the Royal British Legion who do fantastic work with the Armed Forces.”
Learning & Development Advisor Sara Knowles was also keen to pay tribute to the Fallen with her display. She said, “This small tribute with home-made poppies is an opportunity for me to remember and honour those whose service and sacrifice secured and protected our freedom.”
In the foyer of Atlantic Building, another display created by the PR and Events team featured a ghostly sailor sat in a chair illuminated by the eternal flame from an LED candle. A wreath made from handmade felt poppies rested at the foot of the chair whilst opposite, a display featuring photographs of previous Remembrance events flanked a table holding a poppy-strewn roll of honour.
Back in Warspite Building, staff converging for the bake sale were impressed by yet another evocative display as a poppy wave containing over 1000 hand made poppies greeted them whilst a horse’s head, covered in yet more hand-crafted poppies commemorated all the animals lost in war.
These displays all serve to remind staff of the sacrifice made by so many across the years and the importance of remembering and honouring their loss. The whole establishment will fall silent on Friday during the Base’s annual service of Remembrance as staff continue to reflect and give thanks.
PICTURED BY KEITH WOODLAND (CROWN COPYRIGHT): Displays created by HMS Collingwood staff.