The worthy practice of donating first-hand, with its inherent 'nothing in return' aspect, has been replaced with the more morally ambiguous purchasing of an mp3. When you put pennies in the Chelsea Pensioner's box and collect your poppy, you are forced, however momentarily, to individually reflect on the meaning of the paper token you've acquired.
Despite the bleak outlook for the UK's defence capability, this is a significant opportunity for London's businesses to recruit talented officers and soldiers with invaluable skills. They have been proven in demanding battle situations and can bring a significant range of skills that are very relevant to today's uncertain and rapidly changing business environment.
The PDSA Dickin Medal contains the words 'We also serve' and these emotional words always remind me that these animals have performed supreme acts of gallantry to protect lives. This latest recipient is Theo, a British Arms and Explosives Search Dog who died just hours after his handler was killed in Afghanistan in 2011.