The Duchess of Cornwall, Patron of The Poppy Factory attended a celebration at Admiralty House on Thursday 4th Feb to mark The Poppy Factory’s milestone of supporting 500 disabled veterans back into employment.
She was even handed a parking ticket by one of our veterans, who now works as a parking enforcement officer in Cornwall.
Camilla, Patron of The Poppy Factory, giggled as she posed for a photograph with ex-paratrooper, Richard Dungate, telling him: “I’ll have to hang this up on my wall.”
Pointing to his business card attached to the back of the frame, he told her: “This is your get out of jail free card if you ever get caught out in Cornwall.”
Richard, a former Lance Corporal in the Royal Anglian Regiment, had framed the quirky gift for the Duchess after travelling from his home near Truro, Cornwall for the event to celebrate the charity having helped 500 veterans find sustainable employment since 2011.
He told HELLO! magazine: “I was going to put it on her motor, but they wouldn’t allow me.
“It was an honour to meet the Duchess – what a lovely lady and she listens as well.”
Describing how the Poppy Factory helped him find the job after he battled Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, he said; “It puts the injection back into you. I couldn’t have done it without them.”
The Duchess met ex-Service men and women who have successfully found new careers on ‘civvy street’ thanks to The Poppy Factory, together with their Volunteer Mentors, Poppy Factory staff, and some of the employers that are leading the way in recruiting disabled veterans.
Adjusting to civilian life can sometimes be difficult for ex-military personnel, and those with physical or mental health challenges can find it extremely tough. The Poppy Factory’s individual approach with disabled veterans of all ages around the country really helps them to sustain work – with 75% of Poppy Factory veterans sustaining employment for 12 months or longer.
At the reception, Her Royal Highness met key Poppy Factory people, including President, Sara Jones CBE DL, Chairman, Mark Perowne, and Chief Executive, Melanie Waters.
Chief Executive, Melanie Waters, said: “The purpose of this event was to show our thanks to all the employers, mentors, staff, and indeed our disabled veterans, for contributing towards the success of our ‘Getting You Back to Work’ programme. The Poppy Factory uses its unique expertise to help disabled veterans into work with many large and small commercial organisations throughout the UK. We believe that a health condition should not prevent an employer from considering one of our veterans as worthy for a meaningful career. The attendance of our Patron, The Duchess of Cornwall, helps us to highlight our important work to provide bespoke support to our disabled veterans once they’ve left the Forces.”
The Poppy Factory has a vision that no disabled veteran should be denied the opportunity for meaningful work. The charity aims to provide the most effective employment support for its ex-Forces ‘clients’ and for employers alike.