King’s Lynn launches 2011 Poppy Appeal

West Norfolk Mayor urges everyone to dig deep to help Royal British Legion

The annual Poppy Appeal was launched in King's Lynn on Saturday.

A procession of air and sea cadets and members of the Royal British Legion made its way through the town to highlight the appeal.

Last year charity collectors in the area raised more than �29,000 for the national appeal.

King's Lynn and District Branch president Gerry Tann said the figure had been a little down on previous years, but there had been a shortage of collectors to help.

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'We have raised as much as �35,000 in the past and hope to do well again this year,' he said.

The procession, which formed-up at the Legion's Lynn headquarters in Tower Street, was met in the town's Vancouver Quarter by West Norfolk Mayor Colin Sampson.

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He said 'I would urge every one of you to dig deep and give generously.'

Mr Tann said the Legion was still keen to hear from anyone who would be able to help this year's appeal.

'Even if it's only to give someone a break who has been standing outside a supermarket all day. We would appreciate the help,' he said.

The appeal organiser, Paul Elliker can be contacted on 01485 535225.

Nationally the Royal British Legion raised �36m in 2010 and this year has set the target at �40m.

The charity spends more than �1m each week on supporting service personnel and their families.

The Royal British Legion has also committed to spend �50m over ten years to create and run the 'Battle Back' centre and to fun the running costs of recovery centres in the UK and Germany.

The Lynn and District branch was founded in 1921 after four service charities in the area joined forces.

The same year, Princess Mary unveiled the memorial in Tower Gardens to mark the 563 men who lost their lives in the first world war.

In 1971 the national organisation was granted the right to the prefix 'Royal' to mark its anniversary.

The organisation was formed as unemployment levels hit two million and many of those with no work were former servicemen.

More than six million men served in the first world war and 750,000 of them never made it home.

Of those who returned 1.75 million had suffered a disability as a result of serving with the armed forces.

The first ever poppy day was held on November 11 1921.

The legion was once only for members of the armed forces and their families, but now anyone can join the organisation.

The Lynn branch can be contacted at the Tower Street premises on 01553 767887.

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