A PARADE and series of town centre performances helped to launch this year’s Poppy Appeal in Woking, raising thousands of pounds as well as highlighting a new campaign.
The Royal British Legion is calling on Woking residents to rethink what Remembrance means and what the poppy stands for, and wear it in support of the Armed Forces community, past and present.
“We already recognise the poppy as a symbol of Remembrance but it is also represents hope,” said Cllr John Kingsbury, Woking Council’s designated Armed Forces Champion and advocate of the new initiative.
“The poppy bloomed on the battlefields of northern Europe during the First World War despite the destruction, and it is that life force growing in the most difficult of circumstances that connects the poppy with the message of hope. The Legion embodies this hope, and it is available for veterans of any age, wherever and whenever it is needed.”
“When you wear your poppy this year, we’re asking you to think of all the many and unexpected ways the Royal British Legion uses your donation to support the Armed Forces community,” he added.
Veterans, service personnel and cadets accompanied by the British Airways Marching Band paraded to the War Memorial in Jubilee Square on Saturday to launch the Poppy Appeal in Woking. Cllr Kingsbury read an exhortation, followed by minute’s silence in memory of all those who have given their lives in military conflicts.
Woking Mayor Cllr Graham Cundy then formally launched this year’s Appeal, and performances from Grandpa Spells, Oatlands Pipe Band, British Airways Marching Band, Aldervalley Brass Brand and Summerscales Performing Arts entertained the town centre crowds. A selection of military vehicles was on display in Commercial Way, with collections on the day raising a total of £3,506.73.
“We would like to thank the general public for their extreme generosity towards the Poppy Appeal,” said Lauryn Selby, Community Fundraiser for West Surrey. “We’re encouraging people to dig deep for this year’s Appeal. The Legion’s work is entirely dependent on the public’s generous support – so please wear your poppy with pride, knowing that you are helping the Armed Forces community to live on.
“The work of the Legion is as relevant and vital today as it was in the aftermath of the First World War when the charity was founded. The donation for your poppy will help the Legion support today’s Armed Forces community through hardships, injury and bereavements.”
In the past year the generosity of the British public helped the Legion to answer more than 1,077,019 requests for help. The Legion uses donations to offer support in many ways including providing crisis grants, researching the long lasting impact of blast injuries on the body, lobbying the government on issues that affect our community, sport and art based recovery programmes and advising on benefits and money problems.
“The fundraising target in Surrey is £1.5 million,” said Cllr Kingsbury. “Every donation received will make a real difference to the lives of service men and women, veterans and their loved ones.”