Help raise £220k to support our war heroes

Council leader Peter Box, mayor June Cliffe and armed forces champion Sandra Pickin at the wave of poppies at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park for the launch of this year's Poppy Appeal.
Council leader Peter Box, mayor June Cliffe and armed forces champion Sandra Pickin at the wave of poppies at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park for the launch of this year's Poppy Appeal.

Few of us can imagine what it is like to have served on the front line and what life is like for military personnel once they return to civilian life

Years of fighting for Queen and country - and having seen fellow troops killed in action is bound to have a lasting effect.

Council leader Peter Box, mayor June Cliffe and armed forces champion Sandra Pickin at the wave of poppies at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park for the launch of this year's Poppy Appeal.

Council leader Peter Box, mayor June Cliffe and armed forces champion Sandra Pickin at the wave of poppies at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park for the launch of this year's Poppy Appeal.

For some service men and women returning to everyday life can leave them feeling distanced from society as they struggle to adjust to life outside of the forces.

There are also those who paid the ultimate sacrifice - those who gave their lives defending the country’s freedom and the devastated families they leave behind.

But there is help. The Royal British Legion (RBL) offers vital support to those who have served in the forces and their families. From Friday people across the district can show their respect and thanks to former servicemen and women by donating a small amount of change and buying a poppy.

Thousands of dedicated volunteers, many of whom have served themselves, will brave the cold in town centres and supermarket foyers in the hope of raising cash for the RBL. Branches across the district are hoping to beat last year’s Poppy Appeal total of £222,990.

Graham Lawrence, Poppy Appeal co-ordinator for the Wakefield district, said: “Last year the legion spent £56m on helping those who have served in the forces and their relatives.

“That is an awful lot of money and most of that comes from fundraising - the main source being the Poppy Appeal.”

The Poppy Appeal is the legion’s flagship fundraising appeal and runs for two weeks before Remembrance Sunday.

The RBL is hoping to raise more than £90m across the country this year.

Coun Sandra Pickin, Wakefield Council’s armed forces champion, said: “It is so important that we remember those who have given their lives so that we can live the lives we do today.

“I would ask everyone to give what they can to the Poppy Appeal and wear their poppy with pride knowing they are supporting them and their families.”

Branches across the district are also looking for additional volunteers to help sell poppies in the hope of beating last year’s total amount raised.

The Wakefield branch is under threat of closure because due to a lack of members and volunteers. Wakefield Council leader Peter Box said: “I am always proud to take part in the remembrance commemorations each year including visiting this important display to pay our respects to the sacrifices made by so many.

“The Royal British Legion plays a key role in this district and keeps us all mindful of the sacrifices made by men and women who have served - and are indeed still serving – in the armed forces.

“I hope that people will rally to keep the Wakefield branch active and hope that they can attract new members to support their activities and to carry on the important work of reminding us all how much we owe to servicemen and women, both past and present.”

For more information on the Poppy Appeal and the work of the RBL visit www.britishlegion.org.uk