UK pubs raise vital charity funds by selling poppies

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Lest we forget: the Blue Ball in Yorkshire has a Remembrance Day memorial made by a customer
Lest we forget: the Blue Ball in Yorkshire has a Remembrance Day memorial made by a customer

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The Blue Ball Inn is one of many pubs across the UK that have raised tens of thousands of pounds by selling poppies on behalf of the Royal British Legion.

The Worrall-based pub, located in north-west Sheffield, South Yorkshire, even has its own memorial outside made by a local resident.

Every year in public houses across the country, in towns, cities and villages Brits gather together to commemorate the ultimate sacrifice of brave men and women who have, throughout history, given their lives for the endurance of our local and national communities.

Another pub doing the same is the Old Shades, in Westminster, central London, which is run by a veteran and supports the Royal Yachtsman and Tactical Supply Wing of the Royal Air Force all year round.

For former servicemen and women, the camaraderie, community and familiarity feel of the local pub can help transition to civilian life and rebuild social connections while combatting loneliness.

Active engagement

According to the Royal British Legion, one in four in the armed forces community feel lonely ‘always’ or ‘often’. Pubs up and down the country actively engage the residents of their area, whether through informal conversation or organised activities, we know that pubs help combat loneliness. 

Think-tank Localis claimed 81% of people say pubs are important in bringing people together in its report Inn-Valuable: Unlocking the socio-economic potential of our nation’s pubs​.

It also discovered three in four people feel the pub has a positive effect on their community while 68% of British adults say the pub helps combat loneliness.

Martin Huntley, general manager of the Old Shades said: “Having served nearly five years in the Royal Navy, including a deployment to the Gulf War at the tender age of 17, I carry the title of a war veteran, making this day deeply personal and resonant with the echoes of my own experiences and the camaraderie forged in service to our nation.”

Only place to buy a poppy

Emma Shepherd, who runs the Blue Ball Inn, Worrall, added: “We sell poppies in our pub every year and, on Sunday, we’ll be going to the village remembrance service alongside the rest of the community. Our pub is in a rural area, so for many people this is the only place nearby they can buy a poppy.”

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “The Remembrance Day commemorations going on in hundreds of pubs across the country are a great example of the value pubs provide to communities far beyond the food and drink they serve.

“Pubs remain some of the final ubiquitous social spaces that truly unite people, in remembrance, celebration and friendship. This is a crucial role they have in our society that significantly increases the return in value seen on any support pubs receive from Government.”

Meanwhile, Yorkshire brewer Timothy Taylor’s has this month reintroduced its Havercake ale, which was originally brewed to honour the soldiers of the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment, affectionately nicknamed ‘Havercake Lads’ with 10p from every pint sold going to the Army Benevolent Fund.

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