Boy band Union J has launched “Poppy Picnics”, The Royal British Legion's newest summer fundraising initiative by appearing in a spoof video alongside Royal Marines and Royal Navy Commandos.

Video: Union J 'go Commando' to support Poppy Picnics

The ‘Carry you’ singers appear in full-kit fast-roping from a military helicopter before hitting the ground and rushing into action. Having descended from the chopper, the Union J boys then race to their ‘target’ … as they join a party of unsuspecting Poppy picnickers.

The tongue-in-cheek video is already proving a massive hit on YouTube and the band have added to their Forces supporter credentials by confirming that they will be performing at a special concert for troops later in the year.

They won new fans by giving up a full day of their hectic touring schedule to complete the filming, which involved Britain’s oldest military helicopter, ZA298, nicknamed ‘King of the Junglies’ by personnel at RNAS Yeovilton, where the aircraft is based.

The band also caused a stir at the base where they were filmed – RAF Northolt – by walking into military premises dressed in full combat gear, but still sporting their trademark designer hairstyles. “Are those regulation earrings?” one quizzical officer asked a colleague as the boy band ran past.

While the video was fun there was a serious part for the band: for the Armed Forces and the Legion is a cause with special personal connections to the band – members George and Josh both have family serving in the military.

The group’s youngest member, 19-year-old George Shelley said: "My brother is currently serving in the Royal Marines, so The Royal British Legion is a cause especially close to my heart. They’re there for the entire Armed Forces community, both serving and ex-Service.

“We had a great day shooting the video and a really fun Poppy Picnic with some of the families stationed at RAF Northolt where part of the video was shot. It was incredible hearing some of their stories. The work they do is amazing!”

Charles Byrne, Director Fundraising, The Royal British Legion, said: "Union J are fantastic supporters. Because of their family connections, the guys really get what the Legion does and value the work we do in supporting the wider Armed Forces community.

“Hosting a Poppy Picnic is a fun and simple way to get together with friends and family and raise the much-needed £1.6 million per week needed for the Legion to deliver its vitally important welfare work.”

For more information on hosting your own Poppy Picnic, visit www.poppypicnic.org.uk.

Source: Royal British Legion

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