Afghanistan ops boost poppy appeal

MARK NICHOLLS The annual Poppy Appeal collection raised a massive £425,000 in Norfolk this year, according to latest figures. This is up from the £370,000 collected in 2006 and the Royal British Legion, which organises the annual fund-raising campaign, believes a significant factor in the increased donations has been greater awareness of British military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

MARK NICHOLLS

The annual Poppy Appeal collection raised a massive £425,000 in Norfolk this year, according to latest figures.

This is up from the £370,000 collected in 2006 and the Royal British Legion, which organises the annual fund-raising campaign, believes a significant factor in the increased donations has been greater awareness of British military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Lieutenant Colonel Col Tim Cole, the President of the Norfolk County Royal British Legion, said: “According to the latest figures that we have available - and it must be emphasised that these are very much early figures and that the final figure for the Appeal will not be available until the end of May next year - by the end of November the people of Norfolk have donated over £425,000 compared to a sum of approximately £370,000 by the same time last year.


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“From this it can be seen that this year's response has been tremendous, particularly bearing in mind the very welcome and great support that has also been shown in other ways, such as the fantastic response to those who have recently returned from operations in Afghanistan.”

Thousands of people turned out in Norwich and Bury St Edmunds at the end of November to welcome home the 1st Battalion the Royal Anglian Regiment from a six-month tour of duty in the Helmand Province of southern Afghanistan where the unit lost nine men and sustained more than 120 casualties.

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There was a similarly large turnout on the streets of Dereham to welcome home the Swanton Morley-based Lights Dragoons from their tour of Afghanistan.

Lt Col Cole thanked the people of Norfolk for the support they have given to our Poppy Appeal this year.

He added: “This clearly shows and underlines the appreciation and concern that the people of Norfolk have for the welfare of our servicemen and women operating today in Afghanistan and Iraq in particular, but at the same time also showing that they have not forgotten all those who have served in previous conflicts and operations in the past.”

He also extended his thanks for the hard work and support of those who were volunteers for the Poppy Appeal and also on the day-to-day casework.

He said the demands for RBL welfare services in Norfolk have increased considerably over the past year.

“That is a trend that we believe will continue in the months and years to come. Therefore this tremendously generous response from the people of Norfolk will go a long way to ensuring that these first class welfare services can continue and be augmented as necessary,” said Lt Col Cole.

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