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Commemorative Battle of the Somme Poppy train to raise money for Royal British Legion

Press Release   •  Sep 30, 2016 11:40 BST

Southeastern will run a commemorative Poppy train ahead of Remembrance Sunday, taking paying passengers on a round trip from London, through Kent and on to Brighton to raise money for the Royal British Legion.

To mark 100 years since the Battle of the Somme, the train will display a new design wrap and make a rare journey along the East Sussex coast to Brighton. It is the third year Southeastern has teamed up with UK Rail Tours to run a special high speed service.

The journey will take place on Saturday 12th November and has been organised by Southeastern's Andy Harding, High Speed Fleet Engineering Manager and Kent Evenden, a Driver Manager High Speed.

Since 2014, they have dedicated their free time to help raise money for the Legion by organising the commemorative trips with help from Southeastern colleagues.

Andy said: “The Royal British Legion is a fantastic organisation. We wanted to create the Poppy train to raise awareness and money to help them support the Armed Forces community and their families. In 2015 we managed to raise more than £20,500 but this year we’re hoping to donate even more – all in aid of the Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

Kent added: “We’re going to have a special design wrap on the train (unit 395016) to commemorate the Battle of the Somme. What might not be obvious is the units are chosen because their number correlates to the year of the war, so last year a special design featured on unit 395015.”

Community Fundraising Manager London, Emily Fry for The Royal British Legion said: “We’re extremely grateful to Andy, Kent and their colleagues at Southeastern for their ongoing support each year to help the Legion in continuing to honour the memory of the fallen and support the future of the living.”

Since the first Poppy train, named after the Victoria Cross was launched in 2014 to mark the 100-year anniversary of World War One, Southeastern’s special Poppy services alongside other charitable efforts have raised nearly £46,000 for the Legion.

David Statham, Managing Director at Southeastern, said: “Andy and Kent have worked tirelessly to organise the Poppy train for the past three years and we’re very pleased to support them. I know many of our Southeastern employees volunteer their free time to help run the services and the money they’re able to donate year on year is a great achievement.”

Tickets are now on sale now for the special one-off service and can be bought from UK Rail Tours at http://www.ukrailtours.com/product/the-regency-javelin/

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