The season for remembering those who gave their lives in war and conflict began on Saturday when the Eastwood and district branch of the Royal British Legion launched its annual Poppy Appeal.
Since 1921, the poppy has been adopted as a symbol of remembrance, inspired by the First World War poem, ‘In Flanders Fields’. Between now and Remembrance Day on Monday, November 11, they will be bought and worn with pride by thousands of people across the Eastwood and Kimberley area.
For the first time, Giltbrook Retail Park was chosen as the venue for the launch of the Poppy Appeal, which last year raised the whopping amount of £22,656.38.
All the money raised by the Royal British Legion goes to the armed forces community, providing financial, social and emotional support for veterans and servicemen and women in need, their families and dependants.
Margaret Handley, the Eastwood and district organiser, said: “Shoppers could not fail to see the enthusiasm with which the retail park embraced this event.
“The entrance was lined with soldier silhouettes, which made an impressive sight.
“In addition, entertainment was provided by the Derby and Nottinghamshire 1939-1945 Living History Group, who wore uniforms and paraded an armoured vehicle.”
Civic dignitaries who attended the Poppy Appeal launch included the Mayor of Eastwood, Coun Susan Bagshaw, and the chairmen of Greasley and Brinsley Parish Councils, Coun June Layton and Coun John Handley.
Also there were the chairman of the Eastwood Royal British Legion branch, Ian Kiddie, and its standard bearer, Norman Hart.
Margaret added: “We were so grateful to the park for allowing us to collect there. For many years, Ikea has allowed us to have a stall on its premises, and we are equally grateful for its continued support. But this year, other outlets have taken boxes of poppies to sell as well.
“Shoppers were very supportive throughout the day, and we thank them for their generosity.
“Members of Moorgreen Colts also braved the heavy rain and cold to support us by collecting.
“With continued support, we hope to increase our total raised.”