JCB dig deep for the Great War generation
Chelsea Pensioners join unique Armistice commemoration event at JCB’s World HQ
JCB have marked today’s centenary of the World War I Armistice in three unique ways.
First, a team of JCB apprentices and graduates created a distinctive art installation to hold 255 specially commissioned ceramic poppies. It was made by more than 30 ex-services employees, with each poppy representing a soldier from Uttoxeter and the villages surrounding JCB’s headquarters in Staffordshire who gave who gave their life in the conflict.
The company also donated and auctioned a 16C-1 mini-excavator in a striking poppy livery for the Royal British Legion, which raised £25,500. It was bought by JCB customer Arnold Plant Hire Ltd, of Stockport.
In addition, a moving pictorial roll of honour standing 25ft high and 40ft wide bearing 50 photographs of JCB employees’ relatives who served in World War I was put on public display at the company’s headquarters.
The auction total was announced by JCB chairman Lord Bamford last month as the company hosted the Staffordshire Poppy Appeal launch at its World HQ in Staffordshire. The art installation and special roll of honour were also unveiled at the event, which was attended by Chelsea Pensioners.
Speaking at the launch event, Lord Bamford said: ‘As a nation we must never forget the debt we owe to the Great War generation, and this year is our opportunity to say, ‘Thank You’.
‘Many people who work at JCB had forebears who fought, and in many cases died, in World War I. So many families were torn apart by that awful conflict, so it’s important that we not only say thank you, but that we also do no forget.’
The limited-edition ceramic poppies sold out within days of the launch and raised a further £6,375 for the Royal British Legion’s appeal, which provides lifelong support for the Armed Forces community – serving men and women, veterans, and their families.
Earlier this week, JCB director George Bamford, son of Lord Bamford, presented a cheque for the £31,875 total raised to the Royal British Legion’s assistant director community fundraising and mass events, Simon O’Leary, and also handed over the keys for the unique mini-excavator to Arnold Plant Hire’s managing director, Philip Oldham.
George Bamford said: ‘The British Legion’s theme for the centenary is ‘Thank You’ and there is no better way of saying our own thank you than helping to raise funds for such a worthwhile cause. Arnold Plant Hire have given very generously, and we are sure the unique poppy-liveried 16C-1 mini-excavator will be a stunning addition to their JCB fleet.’
Simon O’Leary said: ‘The Royal British Legion would like to thank JCB and all their employees for the wonderful support in this centenary year of the Armistice, which is marking the sacrifice and contribution of the World War I generation. Also, we would like to say thank to you Arnold Plant for their support of the Poppy Appeal.’
Philip Oldham said: ‘We are a proud British company and we have bought a number of special liveried JCB machines in support of various UK charities. We are particularly delighted to have won this splendid poppy-liveried mini-excavator and its first outing will be at a Remembrance Day Parade this Sunday.
‘Over the coming months it will be very visible on construction sites, reminding everyone of the sacrifice made by the World War I generation and saying a very special ‘Thank You’ to them.’