Lest we forget, it’s that time of year again when we proudly wear poppies in honour of the servicemen and women who have fought, and fallen, on behalf of the country.
The annual Poppy Appeal, which is the Royal British Legion’s biggest fundraising campaign, was launched at Mansfield Civic Centre with the help of the Deputy Mayor, Coun Mick Barton. He joined veterans and presented the first poppy to the organiser of the local appeal, Joe Martin, from the Mansfield branch of the Legion.
“It is always an honour to meet the veterans and the people who do such an amazing job collecting for this appeal,” said the Deputy Mayor. “We must never forget the sacrifices of our servicemen and women, who have given their lives for our futures.”
Every paper poppy sold in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday on November 13 will help the Legion support bereaved families and wounded servicemen. It will also support older veterans needing age-related care and younger veterans seeking employment and housing.
“Every £1 donated goes towards a wide range of services and support for our veterans, serving personnel and their families,” added the Deputy Mayor. “So please support this very worthwhile cause.”
Mr Martin’s tireless work in running the appeal was recognised at a special ceremony last December when he received a certificate in a new commendation scheme set up by the Executive Mayor, Coun Kate Allsop. The idea behind the scheme was to thank ‘local heroes’ in the Mansfield area who make a difference to the lives of others or who go beyond the call of duty.
Also at the appeal launch this year was Mansfield District Council’s armed forces champion, Coun Sean McCallum, a veteran himself of the Iraq War, who set up a breakfast club for veterans in Mansfield and Ashfield.
Coun McCallum said: “The poppy appeal has always been, and continues to be, a vital opportunity for the Royal British Legion to gather the necessary funds it needs for its charitable works during the year. I wholeheartedly support the fantastic work they have done in our district and would encourage everyone to buy a poppy and wear it with pride.”
This year, the Legion is urging the nation to ‘Rethink Remembrance’ by recognising sacrifices made not only by those who fought in the two world wars but also by a new generation of veterans involved in more recent conflicts, such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Poppies are for sale at the Civic Centre and various venues throughout the district.