Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

2019 Poppy Appeal launches with the help of GCHQ & some famous faces

2019 Poppy Appeal launches with the help of GCHQ & some famous faces

GCHQ is supporting this year’s Poppy Appeal, which launched last week (24 October) with a host of famous faces hidden among the collectors.

Taking part in its centenary year, GCHQ marked the launch of Poppy Appeal 2019 with staff setting puzzles for the public to reveal the undercover celebrities deployed on ‘Operation Poppy’.

Celebrities including Rachel Riley, Eddie Izzard, and Ross Kemp teamed up with some of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal collectors to shine a light on their fundraising endeavours and highlight how the money raised is being used to support serving and ex-serving personnel and their families. The identities of the celebrities were revealed throughout the day, with the public invited to stay one step ahead by solving cryptic clues developed by GCHQ’s codebreakers to discover who the secret collectors were.



‘Operation Poppy’ played out across the day in the news and on social media, as well as via screens located at London Kings Cross Station, where the public could watch the celebrity reveals and hear the stories of real unseen contributions being made by the Armed Forces community.



This year’s Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal takes place from 24 October until Armistice Day on 11 November. The Appeal has 40,000 collectors, and sees more than 40 million paper poppies, 500,000 poppies of other types, 5 million Remembrance petals, 100,000 wreaths and sprays, 750,000 Remembrance Crosses and other Remembrance items distributed each year.

Last year’s Appeal raised £51 million, with the Royal British Legion aiming to equal that this year.

The Royal British Legion’s Director of Fundraising, Claire Rowcliffe said:

“Our undercover celebrities and the puzzles are a fun and engaging way for the public to get involved in this year’s Poppy Appeal launch, but there is a serious message at its heart. Life for those in the Armed Forces community comes with a whole host of challenges and difficulties – from those that endure the daily sacrifice of being away from loved ones, to those carrying out roles that so often go unnoticed, such as at GCHQ.

“This year is all about telling the hidden stories of our Armed Forces who provide an incredible service to our country in all kinds of ways, and telling the stories of the collectors who volunteer every year to show their support for them.”


Director GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming added:

“It is a privilege, in this our centenary year, to be able to support The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal Launch 2019. GCHQ has worked closely with all three services throughout our 100-year history. To be able to be a part of an appeal that recognises the unseen service of our armed forces, both past and present, allows us to express our extreme gratitude for their service.”



Poppyscotland’s annual appeal has also launched, with Game of Thrones actor James Cosmo, celebrity chef Nick Nairn and multiple-medal-winning athlete Eilidh Doyle among the Scottish stars supporting this year’s Scottish Poppy Appeal. More than five million poppies and 60,000 collecting tins have been distributed around Scotland.



Gordon Michie, Poppyscotland’s Head of Fundraising, said:

“The launch of the annual Scottish Poppy Appeal is always a special day for Poppyscotland and its loyal army of 10,000 volunteers. Every year, we strive to make the Appeal bigger and better than before, and so it is wonderful to have the likes of James, Nick and Eilidh on board to offer messages of support to our Armed Forces community to show in a unified voice that we are behind them. Always.”

Melanie May is a journalist and copywriter specialising in writing both for and about the charity and marketing services sectors since 2001. She can be reached via

Get free email updates

Keep up to date with fundraising news, ideas and inspiration with a weekly or daily email. [Privacy]

* We do not share your email or personal details.

Before you go…

Let us keep you up to date with fundraising news, ideas and inspiration with a weekly or daily email. [Privacy policy]
" />