Forest Gate’s Pearly King honoured to be part of Armistice Day service

Bob Paice was among hundreds of volunteers who planted ceramic poppies at the Tower of London Pictur

Bob Paice was among hundreds of volunteers who planted ceramic poppies at the Tower of London Picture: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images) - Credit: Getty Images

After more than a decade as warden of the jewel house at the Tower of London, Bob Paice returned to the historical site for today’s service of remembrance.

Bob Paice as Pearly King with a couple of Pearly Queens

Bob Paice as Pearly King with a couple of Pearly Queens - Credit: Archant

Bob, who also celebrated his 66th birthday today, was among hundreds of people who have planted more than 800,000 ceramic poppies as a memorial to those who died in the First World War.

He was invited to the service by the head of security at the Tower.

He said: “I felt highly honoured to be honest. The poppies look like a red ribbon around the Tower and the way it was done is very very clever.

“It is a one-off and I think they should be taken out because people have paid for them.

“It has been a fantastic memorial to the people that lost their lives during the First World War, but I do think it is right that they should be taken down or they will just become an exhibition.”

Hundreds of people have seen the Poppy memorial but there has been a national debate about making it a permanent fixture.

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November 11 has special significance for Bob, not just because it is his birthday. He also retired from his role as Warden of the Jewel House at the Tower on that date in 2013.

He held the post for 14 years and was a familiar face for tourists, special visitors and school children in his very distinctive “royal” livery complete with a top hat.

Bob, who lives in Bolton Road, Stratford, swapped his royal livery for the colourful clothes of a Pearly King when he retired last year and now spends his time attending charity functions across London and the Home Counties.

He has managed to raise £32,000 for St Joseph’s Hospice in Hackney by holding a variety of events in over the past year.

Bob said: “About three years ago I was asked to become a “Pearly” but I had to turn it down because of work commitment, then last year when I retired I took the role on and now I go out and raise money for all sorts of charities.”

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