I am the chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO), which represents and supports England’s charities, and we bought a poppy to remember the organisation’s founding father, Edward Birchall, who died in World War I.
Birchall was very active in the ‘guilds of help’ movement of the early 20th century. He had a clear vision for helping to create a strong charity sector.
Even in the midst of war he thought about how he could serve society beyond his death. From the front he wrote a letter to his good friend SP Grundy and left him a legacy of £1,000 which allowed Grundy to set up the organisation that is now NCVO.
We bought a poppy to remember and honour Edward Birchall and the thousands of others who made huge sacrifices on the front or through voluntary action at home.
We keep it on the reception desk where everyone who comes to NCVO sees it. I hope that it inspires staff and visitors to pay tribute to them by volunteering some of their own time too.