A team of wounded injured and sick veterans who have been helped back into work with support from The Poppy Factory boarded a specially adapted tall ship today to sail the last nine days of a historic tour of the UK.
The veterans, all of whom have physical or mental health conditions, will each play a vital role alongside cadets, on board the Jubilee Sailing Trust’s Lord Nelson as they sail from Cardiff to London on the final leg of Lord Dannatt’s Round Britain Challenge, commemorating 100 years since the end of the First World War.
The veterans and cadets will set sail from Cardiff’s Britannia Quay on Friday, August 24th and will travel around the south west of England and through the English Channel before arriving to a heroes’ welcome in London, where they will be joined on board by VIPs including Lord Dannatt and the Lord Mayor on 1st September.
The Lord Nelson will cross the finish line at Tower Bridge on the evening of Saturday, September 1st and the veterans will then disembark and be taken to a reception at the Tower of London.
The Poppy Factory’s ex-servicemen and women are drawn from all corners of the UK and have been helped back into work by the charity’s national network of employability consultants, who provide tailored support to help people find meaningful work that fits their individual skills and ambitions.
More than two thirds (over 70 per cent) of veterans who benefit from The Poppy Factory’s Getting You Back to Work programme remain in work after 12 months.
Deirdre Mills, Chief Executive of The Poppy Factory, said:
“The Poppy Factory was set up almost 100 years ago to provide employment for servicemen with disabilities from The First World War. We continue to help wounded, injured and sick veterans today, and now, as well as providing employment in our factory, we support veterans back into work across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“We are immensely proud of all our veterans’ achievements, including those who will board the Lord Nelson in Cardiff for the last leg of its amazing journey around the UK. What they are doing is proof that having a mental or physical health condition need not prevent the achievement of great things.”
The Lord Dannatt Round Britain Challenge began on July 26th with a crew of 144 cadets alongside wounded, injured and sick veterans. It is led by the Jubilee Sailing Trust in partnership with the Army Cadet Force and the Royal Foundation’s Endeavour Fund, which has kindly funded the trip. Veterans for other legs of the trip have come from RBLI, Help For Heroes and Walking With the Wounded.