Why wearing a poppy with pride is as vital today as it’s ever been

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THE Poppy Appeal isn’t just for older veterans - it’s for soldiers fighting today.

That’s the message from the Rugby branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL), who launched the town’s Poppy Appeal this week with hopes of raising £20,000 to support service personnel. Volunteers from the charity are now selling poppies, lapel badges, wreaths and multi-faith crosses in the Clock Towers shopping centre between 9am and 5pm and will be doing so until November 12. They will also be in Asda between 3pm and 8pm from November 7 to 12.

Ross Cooper, branch secretary of the Royal British Legion Rugby No. 1 Branch, said: “I’m hoping we raise over £20,000 this year - but I’d like people to know that the British Legion don’t just help older soldiers, it’s helping the men and women returning from war zones like Afghanistan right now.

“These are people who have suffered bullet wounds, people with limbs missing, and those in need of psychiatric help. The Legion is also helping their families.

“In addition to this it’s also helping those who contributed to the Second World War, and even soldiers who fought in Korea and Cyprus. It’s an organisation that’s for everybody of all ages and we’d like our reputation to reflect that. We want the idea that we’re just set up for helping older people out of people’s heads.”

The Rugby branch raised just under £20,000 for the Poppy Appeal last year, a total Mr Cooper is hoping to better this year.

Rugby’s 2011 Service of Remembrance will take place on Sunday November 13 at the memorial gates on Hillmorton Road at 10.30am.

Rev Mark Beach, of St Andrew’s church, said: “In the last year we’ve witnessed an awful lot of people who have died in Afghanistan. Remembrance Sunday is the perfect time for everyone to get together and remember them and those people who do come along will be made very welcome.

“We’ve been confronted with so much death and injury to people in the last few months and it’s important we make time to reflect on their sacrifices.”