Published: 13:11, 16 September 2019
| Updated: 13:12, 16 September 2019
Injured ex-servicemen at a military charity have joined forces with supermarket giant Morrisons to make and sell drink coasters to raise crucial funds for Britain’s most vulnerable veterans.
The coasters have been produced at Aylesford-based Royal British Legion Industries' (RBLI) Britain’s Bravest Manufacturing Company (BBMC) and are now on sale at 20 stores across Kent, as well as dozens more nationwide.
All the profits from the sale go to support wounded, injured and sick ex-servicemen and women.
The first batch of coasters - which come in packs of four at £4 each – were delivered by four of the team from BBMC to the supermarket on Sutton Road in Maidstone.
The products feature the emblem of the factory where veterans produce road and rail signage, wooden products such as pallets, and provide printing and mailing services.
The coaster project comes after the charitable arm of the supermarket chain - the Morrisons Foundation - supported RBLI in the delivery of their national employment ‘Lifeworks’ course for veterans, before then donating almost £300,000 towards specially-adapted apartments for injured veterans.
RBLI chief executive Steve Sherry said: “Employment is truly vital for veterans who have had a difficult transition to civilian life – whether that’s due to severe physical injury or mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
“So what we are eager to showcase here is that this is far more than just a coaster. With the exceptionally positive support of Morrisons, it is providing truly worthwhile employment for some of Britain’s bravest veterans who face significant daily challenges as a result of making the utmost sacrifice for the country."
Former Welsh Guard Steve Hammond, who was left permanently injured while serving on the Sir Galahad when it was attacked by Argentine bombers during the Falklands War, was among those making the first delivery.
He said: “When I left the forces, I had nothing. I just had a suitcase in my hand and got on a train back to my hometown.
"That’s where RBLI stepped in – they organised for me to see a surgeon to help with my injuries, gave me a house for my family, then there was a job for me when I fully recovered."
Morrisons CEO David Potts added: “Royal British Legion Industries has 100 years’ experience of providing crucial employment and welfare support to Britain’s most vulnerable veterans, so we are very proud to be selling their products in our stores.
"To know the proceeds will help support generations of veterans for many years ahead means a lot to the colleagues in our stores which are stocking these very special coasters.”
The RBLI needs to raise a further £2m for the next stage of its Centenary Village project.
If every one of the 1.1 million adults currently living across Kent were to donate just £2, this crucial project would be fully-funded - with change to spare for the RBLI’s other worthy causes.
That’s why the KM is launching the ‘Not 2 Much 2 Ask’ campaign - to encourage everyone to make such a donation by the end of the year and ensure this fantastic scheme, for our 2019 Charity of the Year, reaches its potential.
To donate £2, text ‘HOME’ to 70660* or visit rbli.co.uk/not2much2ask.
*Messages will be charged at £2 plus your standard network rate. You must be 16 years old and have the bill payer’s consent.