Remembrance Day – GCHQ spy base lights up largest satellite dish as enormous poppy in magnificent tribute

SPY base GCHQ has lit up its largest satellite dish as an enormous poppy in a tribute to the UK's war veterans.

The intelligence agency lit the dish in Bude, Cornwall, in support of Royal British Legion's 2020 Poppy Appeal – and hours before Remembrance Sunday.

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The tribute, which resembles a single poppy, will be visible for miles along the coastline.

A spokesman for GCHQ – the Government’s intelligence, security and cyber organisation – said: ''Remembrance honours the service and sacrifice of our Armed Forces, veterans and their families who protect our way of life.

''The intelligence, cyber and security agency's partnership with the military stretches back over 100 years and today we work with the armed forces on the frontline in conflict zones to protect personnel and equipment."

GCHQ has five sites across the country; Bude, Scarborough, the National Cyber Security Centre in London, Manchester and their headquarters in Cheltenham.

The top secret agency's main role is to block online and real-world treats from other countries, criminal groups and terrorists.

They gained notoriety in the Second World War thanks to the work of code-breakers – including Alan Turing – in Bletchley Park.

The service's moving tribute comes as David Beckham backs The Sun's poppy appeal on behalf of the Royal British Legion.

The soccer ace has thrown his support behind our bid to make sure Brits are still buying poppies – despite the lockdown.

Becks urged everyone to buy a poppy, and said of our war heroes: “We owe that generation everything.”

The former England football captain spent a day with the Chelsea Pensioners to promote our campaign.

The Pensioners normally sell tens of ­thousands of poppies – but have been banned from street selling ahead of this year’s Remembrance Day because of Covid-19.

And the Royal British Legion fears a third of its 40,000 sellers will be staying indoors this year amid fears over the virus.

Becks said: “Remembrance Day is always special to me because my grandfather was in the Scots Guards and it was always a big deal in our household.

"When the poppies came out my grandad was the first to get us all one. He would say, ‘There’s your poppy. Wear it to school.’ It was a really exciting moment.

“It is so important we remember the sacrifice that our Armed Forces have made for us, as individuals, as families, and as a country."

The Legion has been posting out poppies, which are also available at stores including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Asda, Aldi and Lidl.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has also urged all Brits to buy a poppy for troops serving on the Covid frontline.

It is so important we remember the sacrifice that our Armed Forces have made for us, as individuals, as families, and as a country.

He told The Sun the military have been central to the UK’s pandemic battle, but added: “There were no carers’ claps for them and much of what they have done has been unseen.

“I am proud that Defence has played — and will continue to play — a major part in easing these pressures.

“Whilst Remembrance weekend will look very different this year, please buy a poppy and think of our brave armed forces — both those who fought for our freedoms in the past, and those fighting for us to be able to regain them today.”

Tomorrow, royals will be out in force for the Remembrance Sunday commemoration despite Covid restrictions.

But the public will be urged to stay away and watch on TV — and the march past of 10,000 veterans has been cancelled for the first time in 100 years.

The Queen will attend a secure service with Kate and Camilla on November 8.

And Charles and William will lay poppy wreaths at the Cenotaph with hand-picked veterans and representatives of Britain’s wartime allies.

How to support veterans – despite lockdown

The pandemic may have stopped thousands of sellers from hitting the streets — but it doesn’t have to stop you from buying a poppy.

  1. Fundraise for appeal: Move to Remember and the 11/11 Challenge are among the fundraising suggestions from the appeal itself. Free fundraising packs on the website will give the help and support you will need.
  2. Poppies in the post: Help make up for the reduced number of volunteer collectors by requesting 20 poppies free of charge from the RBL — and then giving them to friends and family yourself in return for a donation.
  3. My poppy run 2020: Run, walk or jog any distance, anywhere and at any time. Get family and friends involved to raise cash. And buy a T-shirt to run in and a medal to give to yourself afterwards!
  4. Visit the poppy shop: There is an extensive range of products from poppy pins and jewellery to clothing, stationery and homeware. All profits fund the Legion’s work in supporting the Armed Forces community.
  5. Make online donation: Alternatively, you could just visit the British Legion’s website and make a donation. You can choose a one-off payment or set up a regular amount — and no amount is too small.


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