PM makes donation to Poppy Appeal as she meets Royal British Legion fundraisers

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Theresa May has donated to the Royal British Legion after meeting with fundraisers at Downing Street.

The Prime Minister greeted Iraq and Afghanistan war veteran Paul Wheeler, 35, and George Taylor, 17, at Number 10 before placing a note into the collection tin and having a poppy pinned to her jacket.

Earlier this year Mr Wheeler, who is from the Isle of Wight and served in the Army for 12 years, ran almost 3,000 miles across America to raise money for the Legion.

He said being invited to Downing Street to cap off his achievement was "unexpected and somewhat mind-blowing".

He added: "As a former Serviceman I know full well how important the Poppy Appeal is, and the breadth of support it gives our serving personnel, veterans and their families."

Speaking about the importance of keeping the work of the Legion in the minds of young people, he said: "It is huge, especially with the Rethink Remembrance this year, to carry on.

(Stefan Rousseau/PA)
(Stefan Rousseau/PA)

"I think a lot of people automatically think of the British Legion, and the Poppy as a symbol in particular, with our older generation of veterans. But it is not the case at all.

"We really need to reflect upon the contributions made by all generations of Armed Forces members."

George, who has been raising funds for the charity since 2009, got involved in the organisation after watching a news report regarding a veteran selling his medals to pay his bills.

On Monday the teenager from Dartford in Kent said: "I feel proud to be a part of today's event and it will live long in my memory."

Meet some of the wonderful volunteers across the nation who are collecting for the #PoppyAppealhttps://t.co/bdqOISr1FDpic.twitter.com/EkVH8q5v8A

-- Royal British Legion (@PoppyLegion) October 27, 2017

Mrs May said she will be wearing her poppy with "pride", adding that it is important to remember the sacrifices made by the Armed Forces.

She said: "It is inspiring to hear the stories of those who work so hard to raise money and awareness for the Royal British Legion.

"They set an example that we can all follow in a small and simple way by buying a poppy and supporting our Armed Forces community both serving and retired."