Across the country, operators have shown their support as communities pause to pay respect to those who have lost their lives serving their country. In the north-east, Go North East (GNE) marked Remembrance Sunday on Sunday 8 November by proudly showing support for all who have served, sacrificed and changed our world with its branded ‘Poppy Bus’, as well as raising money across its depots for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.
Although the country was in lockdown, GNE offered free travel on Remembrance Sunday to serving personnel who produced a current ID card and veterans displaying a veterans badge and travelling in uniform. Team members also additionally observed the two-minute silence, with buses pulling over where safe to do so.
Martijn Gilbert, Managing Director at GNE, said: “We’re proud to be showing our appreciation for the armed forces, both past and present. We have many veterans across our team of 2,000 people, as well as the many serving and veteran members who use our services every day.
“We know things are different this year but we still want to ensure that those who need to travel can do so safely on our buses, whilst the rest of the region pays its respects by standing at their doorsteps at 1100hrs on Sunday to mark the two-minute silence.”
In Yorkshire and Lancashire, Transdev buses are wearing poppies as nation marks 75 years since the end of World War Two. The operator is adorning many of its buses on routes across the North with commemorative poppies to encourage its thousands of passengers each day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.
The poppies will be prominently displayed on the front of buses on routes covering hundreds of miles across the North, from Preston and Manchester in the west to the Yorkshire Coast in the east.
Transdev CEO Alex Hornby said: “This year’s Remembrance has additional significance, marking 75 years since the end of World War Two. With the pandemic continuing, this is a year like no other for us all, so we believe it’s right to continue our support for the excellent work done by the Royal British Legion.
“We hope that by prominently showing our support for the Poppy Appeal on our buses, many of our customers will join us in contributing to this excellent cause.
“All our teams at our depots across the North are fully behind this – we want to remember those who gave their lives for our freedom, and to support those living with the impact of conflict today.”
The Royal British Legion’s Area Manager for Yorkshire, Debbie Harding, said: “We are very grateful for this support – the Covid-19 pandemic has had an overwhelming impact on people’s livelihoods and way of life, leaving some in our Armed Forces community in dire need of urgent help and support.
“The Legion’s work is more vital than ever as we support our community through additional hardships, from those struggling with social isolation, financial difficulties and unemployment to those who have lost loved ones or are facing the threat of homelessness. Every poppy counts.”
Across the country, National Express is also showing its support for the Armed Forces community as it gets behind the Royal British Legion’s annual poppy appeal on its coaches and buses. As an official partner of the charity, the operator is backing this year’s campaign to pay special tribute to the men and women who served in the Second World War and remember the sacrifice made by so many 75 years ago.
For two weeks, tickets issued across the National Express West Midlands network of 1,600 buses will display a text number so passengers can easily donate to the poppy appeal.
Customers will be encouraged to donate directly with messaging on coach and bus websites and social media channels as well as having the option to add £1 to their payment when they book coach travel.
Its coaches will proudly bear the poppy logo during November and on Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day, the annual two minutes’ silence was observed on coaches, buses, and in stations and depots where possible and safe to do so.
Tom Stables, Managing Director of National Express UK, said: “I’m proud that we are continuing to support this great cause, particularly at such a difficult time. It’s a privilege to be able to carry the poppy logo on our vehicles and I’m sure our customers will help with fundraising where they can. We’ve raised over £35,000 in the last five years and hope we can add to this figure again.”
Ben France, Head of Corporate Partnerships at The Royal British Legion, commented: “2020 has been a challenging year for the Legion, as it has been for everyone. We’re hugely grateful for the support of partners like National Express, who ensure we can continue to help the Armed Forces community during these tough times.
“Whether proudly displaying the poppy on their coaches over the Appeal, or giving customers and colleagues new ways to donate, National Express are joining us to remember the sacrifice many have made and continue to make for our nation.”
National Express has recently been recognised by the Ministry of Defence, which has revalidated its Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold award for five years. The Gold award is given to businesses that are exemplary supporters of the Armed Forces Covenant – a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly.