Volunteering at The Poppy Factory

IMG_1865IMG_1830webI recently had the opportunity to volunteer making Rememberance Day Poppies at The Poppy Factory in Richmond, Surrey, England. 

For just one day, myself and 6 work colleagues visited The Poppy Factory, not really knowing what to expect, other than the chance to make some poppies.  The day turned out to be quite an eye opener and one that leaves me seeing poppies in a whole new light.

We were given a brief tour of the factory and an insight into the history of the Poppy Factory charity.  Then it was straight down to work to make as many lapel type poppies as we could in 3 hours.  I achieved about 750, which seems quite a lot, however, it’s a drop in the ocean when you consider the numbers produced by the Factory this year of 38 million Remembrance poppies, 5 million Remembrance petals, 900,000 crosses and 100,000 wreaths!

Having bought many a poppy over the years, it’s amazing that you never really get to find out where they come from.  Well The Poppy Factory is where.  Yep – this one place manned by 50 or so people churn out the whole lot, working throughout the year, with some home workers chipping in too.  The fact that such as huge initiative is fed by such a small outfit is amazing and a credit to all at the factory.

Who are these incredible people?  The work force mostly comprises disabled ex Service or dependants of ex Services men and women.  The Poppy Factory is a charity in it’s own right and through the production of poppies, provides employment and support for such people.

The history of The Poppy Factory starts in 1922, with the current factory dating back to 1933.  Major George Howson MC started the factory when after serving in the 1st World, he set up a small factory in South East London.

Poppies are sold during The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal, which runs during October in the run up to Rememberance Day on the 11th of November.

The poppies we made are in fact for next year, so who knows, I might end up buying one I made 😉

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