Remembrance Day 2020
GWR joined forces with The Veterans Charity to create a special 'Poppies to Paddington' operation on Remembrance Day, 11th November 2020.
The special 'Poppies to Paddington' operation involved ten train services and more than sixty stations covering the length and breadth of the Great Western Railway network.
With many Remembrance events in the capital and around the region suspended owing to the pandemic, GWR and The Veterans Charity had coordinated with organisations, Veterans and volunteers to place wreaths on board early-morning train services heading to the capital on November 11.
The first of the 'Poppies to Paddington' services started from Penzance at 04:58, calling at 10 stations before arriving into London Paddington at 09:59. Other services involved included the 06:27 from Barnstaple, the 06:43 from Hereford, the 07:13 from Paignton, the 07:20 from Swansea, the 07:21 from Portsmouth, the 07:22 from Taunton, the 08:13 from Worcester Shrub Hill, the 08:58 from Cheltenham Spa, the 09:00 from Bristol Temple Meads and the 09:59 from Oxford.
At Hereford Station at 06:30 The Lord Lieutenant of Herefordshire (Mr Edward Harley OBE), RBL County Chairman (Mrs Barbara Leeson), Col Andy Taylor OBE DL, the Chairman of Herefordshire Council (Councillor Sebastian Bowen) and the Chairman of the RBL Riders' Branch gathered on Platform 3 and silence was observed before the wreaths were placed on the train prior to departure.
On arrival at Paddington Station the wreaths were placed at the station’s War Memorial, on Platform 1, in time for the Remembrance Day service at 11:00.
'Poppies to Paddington' allowed all those organisations who would usually have been present for the Remembrance Services at London Paddington and around the region to pay tribute to the fallen by laying a wreath.
There were 231 wreaths in total at the Paddington War Memorial which far exceeded expectations.The Veterans Charity had not specifically sought to gain funding from 'Poppies To Paddington' but it is estimated that over £4,000 has been donated in return. All wreaths were purchased either from the Royal British Legion (with whom the Veterans Charity collaborates closely) or hand made.