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Poppies pop up once more
POPPIES will be appearing across Swindon after mayor Mick Bray launched the Poppy Appeal at the Brunel shopping centre on Saturday.
Volunteers from the Swindon branch of the Royal British Legion have been distributing collection tins across the town over the last few days and hope generous residents will help them top the £51,500 raised in 2011/12.
Coun Bray, who served for more than 30 years in the Royal Air Force, launched the appeal in Swindon by buying the first poppy from the stall outside Sainsbury’s in The Brunel, which will remain there for a fortnight.
Swindon appeal organiser, Alan Baker, who is also the chairman of the Swindon branch of the RBL, said: “In all conflicts you lose people and the least you can do is show respect by honouring their memory and caring for their dependents.
“That’s the main aim of the Royal British Legion, that’s why we sell poppies.” The Swindon Designer Outlet, in Rodbourne, hosts 94 poppy collection tins alone. There are also six special stalls at Sainsbury’s at Stratton, Sainsbury’s at The Brunel, B&Q, Marks and Spencer in Regent Street, Tesco in Ocotal Way, and the Co-op in Old Town.
Mr Baker, 76, of Park North, who is an ex-serviceman and has led the appeal for 27 years, has a core team of 12 people who help to sell poppies every year, but he is appealing for more volunteers.
He said donations were increasing every year, possibly because of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as extra support from schoolchildren.
He said: “The schools are very supportive of the poppy appeal, going by the money that comes from them Coun Bray said: “I’m very honoured to do it, so I can remember my friends in a positive way.
“I have lost friends. And in those days they weren’t brought home to be buried, they were buried in Aden Cemetery.”
Anyone interested in helping to sell poppies can call Mr Baker on 01793 431214.