Residents urged to pick up a poppy as annual appeal launches in Eastwood

Royal British Legion volunteers and cadets at the Poppy Appeal launch in Giltbrook on Saturday.Royal British Legion volunteers and cadets at the Poppy Appeal launch in Giltbrook on Saturday.
Royal British Legion volunteers and cadets at the Poppy Appeal launch in Giltbrook on Saturday.

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Eastwood and Kimberley residents are being encouraged to show their respect for those who lost their lives in war by purchasing and wearing a poppy this month.

The season for remembering fallen soldiers began on Saturday (October 30) when the Eastwood and district branch of the Royal British Legion launched its annual Poppy Appeal at Giltbrook Retail Park.

Emotion was in the air as a bugler played ‘The Last Post’ and shoppers gathered round to observe a minute’s silence at 11am.

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Since 1921, the poppy has been adopted as a symbol of remembrance, inspired by the First World War poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.

Between now and Remembrance Day on Monday, November 11, they will be bought and worn with pride by thousands of people across the Eastwood and Kimberley area.

Residents can donate and pick up a poppy in just about any shop in both towns, with all money raised going to the armed forces community, providing financial, social and emotional support for veterans and servicemen and women in need and their families.

Margaret Handley, the Eastwood and district appeal organiser, said: “It was so nice that people who were out shopping stopped during the ceremony.

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“Last year was difficult with restrictions but we’re hoping to get back into our stride again this November. We’ve done very well in Eastwood over the years.”

The recently-appointed chairman of the Eastwood Royal British Legion branch, Jon Cooper, had a lump in his throat while reading a heartfelt poem at the launch.

He hopes that this year’s Poppy Appeal will help draw new members to the branch.

He said: “I want to know all of the veterans in Eastwood and get the message out there that the RBL is active. We know there are lots of veterans in the town and we would love to see them come out of the woodwork.

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“However, a lot of people I’ve spoken to over the past few months are of the opinion that you have to be in the military to get involved with the group. But the message I want to get across is that anybody can join.

“If you want to help and support for those who have served and their families, come and join us.

“We welcome men and women of all ages, whether they have served in the Armed Forces or not.”

Branch meetings are held at 7pm every fourth Monday of each month at the Sun Inn on Nottingham Road.