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Poppies on the Door

Poppies on the Door

Poppies on the door

As you may remember, I sent off for Poppies in the Post. This was the 2020 Royal British Legion campaign to make poppies available to all (mentioned in post ‘2020 Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal‘). They were aware that some of those who wished to wear a poppy may not be able to access those in their local supermarket.

The poppies arrived just a few days before Remembrance Weekend. By then we were once again in lockdown, so I decided to make them available all night as well as during our Click and Collect opening hours. I creatively stuck the basket to our window, next to the door.

I admit I was a touch nervous that some or all might be strewn all over the pavement in the mornings. There was no evidence of this and the numbers gradually went down until the basket was empty. No one has been on the phone about littering.

I hope I did the right thing, made my Dad proud, and that it has helped not only to raise some much needed funds for former service members and their families, but that it has made some people happy!

‘Poppies on the Door’ was written by Marie Buckfield

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Thank you NHS

Thank You NHS on blue heart

Thank you NHS

Our wonderful NHS supportive offer is in action from now until the end of November, to be sure that your order is ready in time for Christmas. You may remember the story behind this pledge, from our British Spirit blog post.

For every bespoke TBM British Spirit Belt sold between now and 30th November 2020, we’d like to donate £25 to NHS Charities Together.

Order one for yourself, for your partner, for your sibling, your best mate. Together we can repay some of the awe-inspiring workers of the NHS and help them prepare for the winter. 

‘Thank you NHS’ was written by Marie Buckfield

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2020 Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal

2020 Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal thank you poster
2020 Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal thank you poster
2020 Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal poster

2020 Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal

The 2020 Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, like many other events this year, is like no other that has gone before it.

Poppy Appeal collectors absent

I can no longer differentiate between news I have read online and that which I’ve picked up from radio or TV. I have either read or heard that the Poppy Appeal collectors are being protected from potential COVID-19 infection this year and will therefore be absent from our high streets for the first time. That is why I called the Royal British Legion this week to ask whether we could host a poppy collection box in our shop this year.

I was very surprised to hear – although of course I understand the stance – that they are unable to send out boxes due to the social distancing requirements within the dispatch setting. They instead have available, on their very impressive website, dedicated pages for online donations and for their ‘Poppies in the Post‘.

My Dad was a WWII veteran and, aside from noting that this collector absence is a sad state of affairs, he would be pleased to note that the appeal is still happening and has largely moved online. It is thus worth noting at this point though, that there is a huge number of people for whom online fund raising is not only not an option but also a completely alien concept.

My own campaign

With this in mind, I have begun my own campaign. Firstly, I have made my donation to the webpage instead of to the on street collector. Secondly, I have created a QR code to add to the Royal British Legion poster that links directly to their donation webpage. I will be displaying the poster in my shop window, as soon as I have coaxed the printer into using all of its print head capacity… otherwise the QR code will be useless! Thirdly, I have requested some postal poppies in case anyone wants to have one to wear, should they wish to do so following their donation from outside our shop window. They will only have to knock.

Those unable to access the internet?

How does that help those unable to access the internet? The idea of Poppies in the Post is for those who can, to request postal poppies online and make the collections for donation themselves. If anyone wants to donate cash to us in store, we will be delighted to pass the money on.

Please do donate to the appeal if you can, and make sure that those you know who don’t dabble in the magical world of the internet, aren’t left out should they also wish to be involved. Thank you.

‘2020 Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal’ was written by Marie Buckfield

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TBM’s Marie runs London Marathon in Exeter for local charity

Exeter CITY Community Trust logo

TBM’s Marie runs London Marathon in Exeter for local charity

I’m not a runner. Never have been. Having been swept along by the atmosphere while watching the 2019 London Marathon in my dressing gown (an annual occurrence) I entered… and in the October learned that I had got in.

Securing a ballot place meant that I was able to choose my own charity, but which one?


I used social media to invite charity nominations with simple criteria: help as many people as possible over as broad a range of needs as I could. I discovered a suitable charity right on my doorstep but didn’t really know anything about them.


My mission is now to raise funds and awareness for the Exeter CITY Community Trust, the charity arm of our very own Exeter City Football Club.


Their aim, through the power of sport, education and physical activity, is to provide opportunities for all people to improve physical and emotional wellbeing. They work with anyone who is living with physical or mental disabilities, at risk of social isolation, or being left behind by technology; ex-forces and emergency services, LGBT+ and young and old people.

They run football clubs for youngsters, support the homeless and provide team building skills opportunities for students. Did you know that the supermarket shelf labels for foodbanks came from one of ECCT’s National Citizen Service student groups?

At the girls’ football summer camps, participants get the chance to train with Exeter City FC coaches, improve skills and develop new ones.

Marie's charity ECCT girls football camp
ECCT girls football camp

Every two years ECCT selects a number of charity partners and this year’s homelessness charity is Julian House. They work to solve and prevent homelessness across the whole of the South West.

Not all about football then?

A lot of it is about football but you don’t even have to like football to be one of the 10s of thousands of Exonians that benefit (some without even knowing) from the amazing work that ECCT do.

So what’s happening with the London Marathon now?

After first being postponed until Sunday 4th October, this year’s London Marathon has now been transformed into a virtual race, on that date.

That means we download the new app and upload our real world completion data from there. 

I’ve trained for this twice now! This is me just before the Falmouth Half Marathon in March, one of the last mass participation events before lockdown. My half marathon this time took place on the cycle path along the River Exe, a stretch from St Davids towards the Turf Locks.

Where am I running my Virtual London Marathon?

I’m starting opposite the Exeter Community Centre on St Davids Hill at around 7am on Sunday 4th October.

From there I’ll make my way along the Iron Bridge, North Street, South Street and on to Holloway Street and Topsham Road. I’ll be walking up the hills as I need my dodgy knees to last the rest of the 26.2 miles!

Once across Countess Wear roundabout (that’s 2.6 miles down, 23.6 to go!) I’ll continue to Topsham Quay Antiques Centre and back to the roundabout, as many times as it takes me to cover the distance. By Google Maps it’s only 3.8 miles there and back to the roundabout but I do cross the road a couple of times and do a loop at the Antiques Centre 😉

I’ll need to cover that 6 times and then head back towards the city centre… I should complete the marathon distance somewhere around the new Millbrook Village!

Marie's turnaround point near Countess Wear roundabout
My turnaround point, at the road sign (red circle)

Sounds simple!

I’m not quick. I reckon I’ll do it in under 6 hours. If you’re local, why not join me for a bit or watch out for me along the way? I’d really appreciate a spot of moral support! 😊

If you’re running your marathon in Exeter on that day too, you are warmly invited to join us on the route! 🏃‍♀️

Please share this message and donate to this fantastic cause.
My Virgin Money Giving page:

In case you’re still not sure why, check out this short video about Exeter CITY Community Trust: and scroll down a little way to the video.

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Our Signature Piece: the British Spirit

TBM British Spirit Belt

Our Signature Piece: the British Spirit

Last time I talked about beginning to plan ahead for that special gifting period at the end of the year. Continuing in that vein, I’d like to dedicate this page to our Signature Piece: the British Spirit.

Our British Spirit was born from a time that is not unlike this one in many ways. It was inspired by the sense of team spirit that was exhibited by the players, supporters and volunteers that were ‘Team GB’ at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The red, white and blue stitching represents the colours on the British Union Flag or ‘Union Jack’. 

Union Jack
Union Jack

When the volunteer Games Makers made the London 2012 Olympics happen, their selfless energy and skills were given so that we could benefit from the history being made. Sound familiar?

TBM British Spirit Belt
TBM British Spirit Belt

We love to make this belt

We love to make this belt and are very proud of it. The Raise style enables us to safely secure all the start and finish ends for each of the three decorative thread colours on the inside. 

Each of the red, the white and the blue stitches – always in that order – are painstakingly hand sewn with a long back stitch, evenly along the full length of each side and around the tip. When done correctly this produces a candy cane style of striping along the inside.

A piece of thinned leather will sit between the two rows of candy stripes and the entire top layer can then be sewn onto a base piece, producing the raised effect. 

In a medium sized belt that’s around 1,360 stitches and a lot of work, as you can appreciate!

Which made us think.

Thank You NHS on blue heart

Like those amazing, proud Games Makers of 2012 but this time with utmost, awe-inspiring bravery: the doctors, nurses and other members of our NHS risk their lives in British Spirit in this historic time of pandemic.

For every bespoke TBM British Spirit Belt sold between now and 30th November 2020, we’d like to donate £25 to NHS Charities

Can I say that again?

For every bespoke British Spirit sold between now and 30th November 2020, we’d like to donate £25 to NHS Charities.

Order one for yourself, for your partner, for your sibling, your best mate. Together we can repay some of the awe-inspiring workers of the NHS. 

Have a browse

Our incredible belts are now accompanied in store and online by a wide range of accessories. For items that will suit the office, studio and working from home environment the website is open 24 hours.

The shop is open for business 10am-5pm from Tuesday to Saturday. In store appointments are available for private browsing for just you and your household/bubble. Please get in touch if you need this service by filling in the contact form, button below 👇

News to your inbox?

Would you would like to be among the first to hear our news, direct to your inbox? You can sign up for our newsletter right here 👇

‘Our Signature Piece: the British Spirit’ was written by Marie Buckfield