Avanti West Coast remembers Staffordshire railway workers as region launches Poppy Appeal
Avanti West Coast joins community to remember fallen Staffordshire railway workers as Royal British Legion launches Stoke-on-Trent Poppy Appeal.
- Avanti West Coast helps launch 2022 Stoke Poppy Appeal with poignant event
- Stoke-on-Trent station remembers local railway workers who served in WWI
- Community marks centenary of North Staffordshire Railway Memorial Arch
Avanti West Coast has helped launch the 2022 Stoke-on-Trent Poppy Appeal with a special event commemorating local railway workers who served in the First World War.
Working with local organisation North Staffordshire Railway Study Group (NSRSG), the intercity operator remembered the fallen who are honoured on the Stoke Station Memorial Arch.
Built in 1922, the memorial arch on platform one commemorates the North Staffordshire Railway (NSR) workers that served in World War I and was one of the last developments of the NSR, which was fondly known as ‘The Owd Knotty’ – a nod to the Staffordshire knot, which featured in the company emblem.
The arch provided the backdrop for volunteers from NSRSG, Avanti West Coast, and members of the community to read out the names of the 152 North Staffordshire Railway employees who lost their lives during the conflict – ensuring they are never forgotten.
Dressed in period costumes as soldiers and a Station Master, the participants gave an insight into the roles of all 152 railwaymen before placing a Poppy cross at the memorial after each name was read out. They also recited poems and war-time songs, closing with “The Soldier’s Lament”.
With 2022 being the centenary of the station’s memorial arch, the period of remembrance provided an opportunity to mark this milestone by observing the service and sacrifice of local people.
As part of this act of remembrance, the armed forces charity, Royal British Legion, were invited to launch Stoke-on-Trent’s Poppy Appeal at the station.
Poppy collectors stood alongside displays by the NSRSG that provided further information about the service of the fallen railway employees.
Laura Harper, Avanti West Coast Station Manager at Stoke-on-Trent, said: “The railway has a long connection to the armed forces, so we’re proud to have joined the local community to mark the centenary of the Stoke-on-Trent station’s memorial arch.
“Playing our part to remember the service and sacrifice of the 152 local railwaymen, as the Royal British Legion launches its Poppy Appeal here in Stoke is a great privilege. We hope this special event has acted as a poignant reminder of those who have served, as well as helping to generate funds for the Poppy Appeal which will make a difference in the community.”
Anne-Marie Jones, Community Fundraising Manager North East & North West Midlands at Royal British Legion said: “Our Armed Forces have always been – and always will be – committed to protecting us, our freedoms and our way of life. The Armed Forces community make unique sacrifices and contributions despite having never met us and the Royal British Legion supports them and their families both during and after their service. Every donation to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal helps us continue to provide vital support to veterans, serving personnel and their families – the Legion has always been here for them, and with your help, always will be.”
Mark Smith, North Staffordshire Railway Study Group Chair, said: “One hundred years ago the North Staffordshire Railway put up this magnificent arch to honour 152 very ordinary young men who went off to war and never came home, and all passengers who come into the station still see it every day. We wanted to make sure they are more than just a list of names, remembering who they were and what they did on the railway.”
Avanti West Coast
Notes to editors
Main image: Avanti West Coast Stoke-on-Trent station team and North Staffordshire Railway Study Group remember fallen railway workers.
To find out more or to donate to the Poppy Appeal please visit rbl.org.uk
About North Staffordshire Railway Study Group
The North Staffordshire Railway Study Group was formed in October 1995 to bring together people with an interest in the North Staffordshire Railway – the NSR or The Knotty – in order to increase the knowledge of the railway, and to improve the understanding of the role of the railway within the community it served.
The aims of the Study Group are:
- to gather as much surviving information as there is about the NSR
- to try to ensure that it is not lost
- to make such information more widely available to those who have an interest in the railway
About Royal British Legion
This year the Royal British Legion are recognising the extraordinary service our Armed Forces offer to the country and how they risk everything to protect you, despite having never met you. They want to encourage the public to wear your poppy with pride and show serving personnel, veterans and their families, their service and sacrifice means something to you and will never be forgotten.