The Queen thanks Poppy Factory for work supporting veterans

Queen Camilla hosts a celebration for centenary of Poppy Factory – London Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

The Queen has praised the Poppy Factory for its work producing royal wreaths for Remembrance Sunday and supporting the nation’s military veterans.

Camilla welcomed staff and beneficiaries of the organisation’s efforts to Clarence House for a reception marking 100 years since the charity moved to its Richmond upon Thames home in London.

For the past decade, the Queen has supported the Poppy Factory visiting its west London home and regularly touring Westminster Abbey’s Field of Remembrance, filled with poppy crosses, ahead of Armistice Day.

Camilla slices a cake with a sword during the event Credit: Isabel Infantes/PA

Camilla, who was presented with a number 10 made from poppies to mark her milestone, told her guests: “I can’t believe that I’ve been part of it for 10 years.

“I’m very proud to be part of the Poppy Factory because I’ve seen the wonderful work that you do.

“It’s so important nowadays to look after these veterans because sometimes they don’t get as much attention as they need,

“So if it wasn’t for you and the other wonderful charities that are supporting them, I don’t know what they’d do.”

Camilla talks to Mark Young, a production manager at the Poppy Factory Credit: Isabel Infantes/PA

The guests applauded when the Poppy Factory’s president, Surgeon Rear Admiral Lionel Jarvis, asked the Queen to send their best wishes to the King, who returned to Sandringham on Wednesday after his latest bout of cancer treatment in London, and “wished him a speedy recovery”.

Earlier Camilla praised two stalwarts of the Poppy Factory, Peter Wills, 62, and Paul Hammerton, 61, who have been making wreaths laid by the royal family at the Cenotaph to mark Remembrance Sunday for many years.

Camilla told them “we’re proud of what you do” through a sign language interpreter because both are deaf, adding “You’ve made our wreaths for many years – we thank you very much.”

The Poppy Factory was founded 1922 to create civilian employment for wounded, sick and injured veterans of the First World War, first at its factory in London’s Old Kent Road before production moved to Richmond upon Thames In 1924.

The Queen views an exhibition showing the evolution of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance Credit: Isabel Infantes/PA

In recent years the Poppy Factory has stopped producing poppies, a role taken on by the Royal British Legion (RBL), but continues to make around 100,000 wreaths a year for the RBL, including 200 specialist wreaths for dignitaries like the royal family and politicians.

The Poppy Factory is still committed to supporting the country’s ex-servicemen and women through its veteran and family employment services, helping those in need overcome issues and return to work.

During the reception the Queen was shown a display of poppies through the decades up to the present day, and also a display model of one of her Remembrance Sunday wreaths.

Mr Hammerton later described how he made the red poppies for the wreath “from rolled paper with bristles from a broom cut off and put in the middle” to represent the stamen.

He added: “It takes around two weeks to make the wreaths and we’re very honoured to make them for the royal family.”

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