A disabled war veteran is calling on people from across Northern Ireland to donate to a fundraising appeal that will support fellow veterans.
Carrickfergus resident, Bryan Phillips, hopes to raise in excess of £10,000 to be split between the Poppy Appeal and the Irish Guards Benevolent Fund, while marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World war One.
Bryan joined the British Army in 2005, before going on tours in Iraq (2007) and Afghanistan (2010 and 2012). On his last tour of Afghanistan he stood on an improvised explosive device (IED) and lost both of his legs above the knee.
The kind hearted east Antrim man plans to have laid 100 wreaths at 100 War Memorials across Northern Ireland by Armistice Day 2018 as part of the ‘Poppy 100’ appeal.
Bryan said: “I came up with the idea for the Poppy 100 appeal because I wanted to do something different to commemorate the anniversary, while raising a huge amount for the charities.
“I’m calling on individuals, groups, Somme societies, sports teams, organisations and businesses to sponsor a wreath for a war memorial at a cost of £100.
“It may have been my idea, but this is definitely not a one man show. There are also members of the Irish Guards Ulster Branch Association helping out with a lot of it, including all the paper work side of things.
“We are looking to lay the wreaths throughout the whole week, starting Monday, November 5 to Sunday, November 11. We’ve already been contacted by a number of groups who wish to be involved, and would appeal to interested groups, particularly in rural areas to get behind the project.”
The former Rathcoole resident added: “Following Afghanistan, I went through a lengthy rehabilitation process at the Military Rehab Centre at Hedley Court. With determination and support from my family, friends, public and various charities, I was able to walk once again.
“I consider myself to be one of the lucky ones as there are comrades who were injured much more severely than myself, I make the most of everyday and embrace it. It means the world to me that I can put myself in the position of helping others, I will continue to do this so long as it’s possible for me.”
Sponsors can lay the wreath themselves, Bryan can attend, or can lay the wreath if the sponsors do not wish to do so.
Bryan and the organisers are encouraging families to attend the wreath laying ceremonies.
Bryan explained: “We would like to see those laying them try to bring their families, especially the younger generation to the wreath laying and show them we will never forget the men and women of both communities who paid the ultimate sacrifice. To me, passing this onto the next generation that both sides of the community fought side by side so we can live the lives we have today is the most important aspect to me.”
For more information about the appeal, check out the Poppy 100 Facebook page.
If you would like to make a donation, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/poppy100