Lightbox Poppy Appeal Launch

PEOPLE from generations many years apart took part in the official launch of the 2019 Poppy Appeal in Surrey, which took place in Woking.

A D-Day veteran, Chelsea Pensioners and students from Woking College were involved in the ceremony at The Lightbox on Friday last week.

Chelsea Pension Geoff Douglas receives one of the first poppies from Michael More-Molyneux

The county’s Royal British Legion (RBL) branch chose the town for the launch of the annual appeal for the first time, with the museum and gallery hosting the event at the invitation of the borough council. Surrey’s fundraising target for this year’s appeal is £1.5m.

Surrey RBL’s president, Brigadier Paul Evans, opened the ceremony in the Main Gallery, which is hosting Burning Bright, an exhibition of the work of Scottish Colourists.

After prayers led by the Rev Bob Bennett, chaplain of the Last Post Association, Brig Evans read the Exhortation from the poem For the Fallen followed by a one-minute silence.

Ted Hylands, who was among the first Royal Marine Commandos to land at Gold Beach during the D-Day invasion of Normandy in 1944, was one of the principal guests to receive a poppy.

D-Day veteran Ted Hylands, whose medals include the Légion d’honneur decoration, presented to him by France

Among those who received certificates of appreciation from Maj More-Molyneux were former Bisley, Knaphill and West End poppy appeal organiser Joyce Cadwallader and West Byfleet organiser Keith McConaghie.

Mrs Cadwallader was honoured for leading branch volunteers in raising around £150,000 for the appeal during her seven years in the post and Mr McConaghie for outstanding work and commitment.

The Poppy Appeal is celebrated in the regularly changing heritage display outside the Main Gallery at The Lightbox. It is currently exhibiting artefacts to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War.

The launch precedes the seventh annual Woking Poppy Day, which takes place on Saturday, recognising the service and sacrifice of past and present members of the Armed Forces.

Dame Penelope Keith with Brig Tom Bateman, commanding officer of 11 Infantry Brigade and the Army’s most-senior officer in the South East

The event in Jubilee Square opens at 10.15am with a performance by Horsell-based Tracey Summerscales Dance Academy.

After the performance there will be a parade to the war memorial in the square by veterans, cadets and Royal British Legion standard bearers, led by the British Airways Marching Band, followed by a programme of entertainment running until 3:30pm.

Collections for the Poppy Appeal will take place around Woking throughout the day.

Mr Kingsbury, a former mayor and leader of the borough council, added: “The unseen sacrifices our military personnel make on our behalf deserve to be recognised. Wear your poppy with pride and show your support for our Armed Forces community, past and present.

“Every donation received will make a real difference not only to the lives of service men and women and veterans, but to their families as well who can also experience difficulties dealing with the circumstances of a loved one who is serving.”

For more on the Poppy Appeal and Woking Poppy day event, get the 31 October edition of the News & Mail

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