On 17th November, SSI Phil Swadling and PI Doug Stuart visited The Green Light Trust in Suffolk to meet Luke Etheridge, an autistic man who has been raising money for The Poppy Appeal by making wooden poppies.
Luke has a great interest in the history of the World Wars and the Army. He has taken the time to research these topics, and is determined to help serving and ex-service men and women. For the last two years, Luke has spent a lot of his time at The Green Light Trust, and at home, making wooden poppies for Remembrance Day, as this is a topic close to his heart. He decided that he wanted to sell them to raise funds for The Poppy Appeal.
Luke and some of his poppies. Picture: Doug Stuart
SSI Swadling was invited to meet Luke and collect the money he raised, due to a personal connection with a member of staff. In honour of the occasion, Luke decided to dress in military uniform.
The Green Light Trust exists to ‘support people from all backgrounds and experiences to rebuild, reawaken or refocus their lives through the power of nature’. The charity believes in the power of Green Care – the idea of the environment being a useful and advantageous tool in the care of us all in society. The creation and selling of wooden poppies represents a significant achievement for Luke.
SSI Swadling collects the money from Luke, which will be passed on to The Royal British Legion. Picture: Doug Stuart.
Luke said he felt ‘honoured’, “someone just called me a hero, I was hoping to be a hero like the ones back in World War One!”
Staff member Connie Barnes said; ‘We at Green Light Trust are all very proud of Luke and his incredible achievement.’
Some of Luke's poppies and a 'Tommy' nutcracker he made. Pictures: Green light Trust and PI Doug Stuart
SSI Swadling said: ‘What a great pleasure it was to be invited along to the Green Light Trust to collect money raised by Luke, he did this off his own back, making the wooden poppies and then selling within his local community, it’s an extremely impressive thing to do and he is a shining light of inspiration to others - well done Luke!’
Luke Etheridge and SSI Swadling with friends and staff at The Green Light Trust. Picture: PI Doug Stuart
Text by PI Doug Stuart with thanks to Connie Barnes.