Today was my first day this year of collecting for the Poppy Appeal.
I didn’t do my usual full day because I’m still recovering from the operation, but I did a bit over four hours and survived it all OK so now hope, as usual, to do the late afternoon/evening session each day and all day next Saturday.
Our local Royal British Legion Branch is allowed to collect from 1st November at the large out-of-town regional shopping centre. The management is very supportive, and lets us have a fair-sized space to set up our table in the shopping centre. A couple of us staff the table, and then we have Cadets who collect at each entrance.
I normally arrive about 4.00pm to take over from the person who has been there all day, and stay until the centre shuts at 10.00pm.
I really look forward to the Poppy Collection, (I hope that doesn’t sound sad). I know some people are scared of collecting because they think members of the public will be unpleasant to them.
Well, I collect for Lifeboats (RNLI) and Poppies (RBL), and I have never had anyone be nasty to me. On the contrary, everyone is very friendly and they often want to tell you about members of their families who have (1) RNLI – been rescued or been a lifeboat crew member; (2) RBL – lost a family member in warfare or have a family member in the armed forces now. There’s usually a bit of fun about pinning on the poppies, and the children love to put their pennies in the collecting box and have a sticker.
But the RBL badly needs the money. The calls on it grow all the time. There are veterans of the 1939-45 war who have now got to the age where they need a lot of support, and veterans of later conflicts who are ageing themselves, and there are the many dependents. But even more than that, there are the brave young men and women who have been injured in Iraq and Afghanistan. What will life hold for them? First they need to recuperate, and then, if they are unable to stay in the services, they need to be resettled. Will they get jobs? Or who will support them? Who will fight for their medical treatment and for their financial security? The Royal British Legion will.
I heard a young soldier on television. He had been maimed and now had to face a future where he could no longer follow his chosen profession. He said, “I’d always thought of the Legion as a lot of old boys drinking, playing darts and telling stories about their war. Now I know what the Legion really is. They’re supporting me and fighting for me.”
So every penny you can give to the Poppy Appeal will be well used to help our servicemen and women, past and present. Please give as much as you can.