It also continues to support today’s British armed forces through the Poppy Day Appeal, which this year raised a record amount for the Royal British Legion.
On Friday November 11, Lloyd’s underwriters and brokers will pay their respects to those that gave their lives fighting for their country with the annual Wreath Laying Ceremony for Remembrance Day in the Lloyd’s Underwriting Room.
The Lutine Bell will be rung and underwriters, brokers and staff at Lloyd's will observe a two-minute silence. John Nelson, Lloyd’s Chairman, and the Lord Mayor of London will lay wreaths before the Book of Remembrance.
Supporting armed forces
The Lloyd’s market has also been offering its support to the armed forces through the London Poppy Day appeal, which this year has again seen city workers and armed service personnel raise much needed funds to help members of the British Armed Forces.
The appeal saw over 1,000 serving and former armed services personnel take to the streets of London to raise money for the Royal British Legion.
This year’s Appeal was the most successful yet, according to Benjamin Hancock, the Appeal’s organiser and former Major in the Grenadier Guards. The Lloyd's branch of the Royal British Legion collected almost £450,000 in just 12 hours.
The appeal has grown hugely from the £500 collected by Hancock, now an insurance broker at Aon, and his colleagues in 2006, in what was then known as the City Poppy Day. It has since expanded beyond its insurance market routes in the Square Mile and now includes collection points and businesses across the West End, Canary Wharf and North West London.
“This year’s appeal was bigger and better than previous years, with more volunteers and even more support from business,” says Hancock. “We have had an amazing response from the public. Seeing service men out there – young and old – alongside their civilian colleagues is a catalyst for a show of amazing generosity.”
This success of London Poppy Day is largely owing to the extraordinary efforts of Hancock, who left the army in 2005 after 11 years service during which time he served in numerous locations and on operations in Northern Ireland and the Balkans. He is closely supported by Aon colleague Duncan Welham and 60 other volunteer team leaders who organise the individual teams on the ground.
Lloyd’s British Legion
Hancock is also Deputy Chairman of the Lloyd’s branch of The Royal British Legion, which has some 300 members associated with the insurance market. Lloyd’s is the last remaining ‘trade branch’ of The Royal British Legion and is one of the most active branches.
All the money raised by the appeal goes to the Royal British Legion, which offers support to armed services personnel after leaving the forces. In particular the money will help the organisation’s Battle Back Centres, which are helping injured service men and women prepare for new lives beyond the armed forces.
Volunteers collected outside 60 London train and underground stations, as well as around 50 offices – including Lloyd’s – across the capital. Many of the volunteers wore uniform and six military bands helped drum up support in busy locations, including Leadenhall Market, Liverpool Street and Covent Garden.
“For the first time we extended collections beyond rush hour, with most stations manned from 7am until 7pm – with many volunteers taking the day off to come along and help out. The drums and pipers were a terrific accompaniment – causing lots of noise and drawing attention to the cause.”
This year also saw many businesses – including Aon and banking group RBS – contributing directly to fundraising by matching employees’ fund raising efforts. Transport for London also supported the Appeal by allowing uniformed volunteers to travel free on tubes, trains, trams and busses.
Barclays Bank donated £1 for every Boris Bike used that day – the communal bikes that were introduced by London Mayor Boris Johnson. Even though rain may have dampened rush hour bike traffic, the bank’s donation is expected to contribute a fantastic £20,000, says Hancock.
One lady in Cornwall – in a bid to give up smoking – knitted over 3,000 poppies for the Appeal. As a result, 'Norma's Knitted Poppies' were selling for between £20 and £500 each, with her efforts netting a staggering £60,000 for the Appeal.
The appeal is also an opportunity for acting and former service men and women that work in City to reach out to their colleagues, says Hancock. The appeal is a coming together of the current and former services community along with the general public, to raise money and catch up with old friends.
This year saw increased support from those who hadn't served in the forces themselves, he says. One of Hancock’s colleagues in the market was inspired to collect by the experiences of her grandfather, who had served on the perilous Russian Convoys in the Second World War.
It was her first year but her team raised just short of £6,000, says Hancock. “It is important that we see more of this kind of support. The Royal British Legion is a great cause and is in need of our generation's support – it shouldn't be for the World War veterans to be raising funds to help our own generation.”