GCHQ Cheltenham wears the British Legion Poppy with Pride
At the end of last week GCHQ created a giant 125ft poppy in the centre of their iconic building in Cheltenham to launch the British Legion Poppy Appeal. The iconic flower was made up of 1,400 of the intelligence agencies staff including 1,308 civilian staff in red ponchos who were joined by black-uniformed Royal Navy personnel who made up the centre of the poppy and military staff creating the stem.
The floral symbol was created to launch the British Legions Poppy Campaign with GCHQ being the perfect partner due to their long history of supporting the military. It also gave the organisation an opportunity to show their respect and support for the campaign. So are we looking at a genuine show of respect for the British Legion or just another successful PR stunt? Well, why does there have to be a distinction? In my opinion it can be both.
The people who work at GCHQ, and indeed the organisation itself have a less than desirable perception for the most part. To the outside world they are viewed as Big Brother, watching and closely monitoring everything we do and that they sit in safe rooms ordering drone attacks on innocent villages caught up in war. They are sometimes not viewed as real people but as robots.
In my opinion this is a great PR win for both the British Legion Poppy Appeal and GCHQ but it is certainly more beneficial to the latter. GCHQ wanted to highlight their support to the British Legion and remind people of the support they provide to the military which dates back to 1914, so when the opportunity came about to help create a really special photograph this was the idea that was presented.
It was a great success with The Royal British Legion Gloucestershire being thrilled with the result. Nicole Mayall, Community Fundraiser for Gloucestershire’s Poppy Appeal said: ”It is so moving to see so many people standing together to support the work of The Royal British Legion and launch this year’s Poppy Appeal. We are so grateful to all the staff at GCHQ who have made this possible. The money raised through the Poppy Appeal goes directly to the Legion’s welfare work providing through life care to anyone who is currently serving in the British Armed Forces, who has previously served, and their families”.
Those who were part of the giant poppy were invited to make a donation, which resulted in £1,730 being raised. The ponshos are to be donated to local charities including a number of scout groups in the region and Bloodbikes, a charity providing out of hours emergency medical courier service to Gloucestershire and the surrounding counties. All in all a great PR success – Well Done!