We met 90 year old veteran Derrick Rex back in 2018. We were at Coventry Train Station launching our First World War Centenary campaign to say Thank You to all the fallen soldiers from Coventry, and Derrick was there collecting for the Poppy Appeal, as he has done for 15 years. Getting to know him was an absolute privilege, and throughout the days that our campaign ran, more and more Coventry Building Society staff got to know him and collected for the Poppy Appeal alongside him, and all felt the same sense of pride in standing alongside our Armed Forces community and a caring and wonderful man who has previously singlehandedly raised £6,000 in one year. And that’s why we’re so ready to stand alongside him and support him once again, just in a different way.
Derrick served in the Royal Tank Regiment and came perilously close to death after catching diphtheria in India. He served in Korea, celebrating his 22nd birthday while there, in conditions that he describes as ‘terrible’. He comes from a proud military tradition, following in his father’s footsteps after seeing him serve 29 years in the army. Since Derrick’s service, he has visited 10 Downing Street and also spoken with the Queen, Prince Harry and the Duke of Kent.
Now a widower, Derrick lives in Coventry. In the midst of a fight no one saw coming, Derrick has to stay safely at home. So it’s our turn to make sure that the Poppy Appeal flourishes, and continues to support the important work of The Royal British Legion.