Stagecoach has covered one of its double decker buses in a poppy wrap to support the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and pay tribute to the commitment and sacrifice of service men and women through the generations.

As part of the Royal British Legion’s official launch of the Poppy Appeal in Kent, veterans and members gathered at the Bus Station in Canterbury where they welcomed Kent’s first Poppy Bus. 

Veterans and members of the Royal British Legion launch the Poppy Bus at Canterbury Bus Station. Including Stagecoach’s Ian Loftus (left), Jane Ayres from the RBL (centre) and Sir Julian Brazier (right)

The idea was the brain child of Stagecoach Assistant Operations Manager Ian Loftus. Ian, who served as a Sergeant in the Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, is also an RBL member at Dover.

Joanne Howe, Stagecoach Operations Director for the South East said,

“We’re delighted to support the RBL and the Poppy Appeal. We hope that the Poppy Bus will be a visible reminder of the RBL’s all-year-round work and pays a fitting tribute to our veterans and Armed Forces community.

Through our support we hope we can send a clear message to our Armed Forces communities in the South East that we appreciate and recognise the commitment they have made to our country over the years.”

On Remembrance Sunday (11th November) the bus company will also be offering free travel to Armed Forces personnel carrying a military ID card and to veterans wearing the veteran’s badge.

Jane Ayers, Community Fundraiser for the Royal British Legion said,

“We are so pleased that Stagecoach has chosen to support us in this way, this Centenary year. We are calling on the nation to say ‘Thank You’ to the First World War generation, not just the British Armed Forces, but those who fought alongside them from today’s Commonwealth and the countless men, women and children who played their part on the home front.  The Poppy Bus is a great way to remind people of why it is important to remember that everyone has a connection to the First World War, and we all have a reason to say ‘Thank You’ for the legacy that extraordinary generation left for us.”

Stagecoach Group signed the Ministry of Defence’s Armed Forces Corporate Covenant in support of the Armed Forces Community. As a signatory of the Covenant, the company recognises the value serving personnel; regular and reservists, veterans and military families contribute to both the country and businesses across the country.

The Poppy Bus is currently in service on bus routes in east Kent serving Dover, Deal, Sandwich and Canterbury.

What a beautiful way to honour our heroes and work with The Royal British Legion. Thank you for signing the Ministry of Defence’s Armed Forces Corporate Covenant and for sharing this wonderful news with us. It’s important to show how our communities are pulling together to ensure we’re supporting those who sacrificed so much for us and memorialising those who paid the ultimate price.