Lowestoft’s Emily will help celebrate Royal British Legion milestone with a poppy party

A schoolgirl from Lowestoft has become the face of the Royal British Legion's 90th anniversary as it asks communities to host a series of Poppy Parties to mark the milestone.

The celebrations can take any form, from a family barbecue to a grand ball and will help the forces' charity as it aims to raise �90m over 12 months.

Lyn Hatch, community fundraiser for the RBL in Norfolk and West Suffolk, said the campaign was still at an early stage, but plans were already being made for events in this part of the world.

That includes a fancy dress party hosted by Lowestoft youngster Emily Takman.

The nine-year-old, who lives in Oulton, said: 'I can't wait for the Royal British Legion celebrations. I'm going to invite all my friends to a poppy-theme fancy dress party and Mum says we can decorate the house too.

'We will have lots of party games and yummy food.'

Emily was chosen to appear on the front of the brochure, which has been sent to all local authorities with suggestions about how to mark the Great Poppy Party Weekend from June 10 to June 12.

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Her mother, Wendy Takman, who took part in the 75th anniversary Great British Poppy Chain in 1996, said her daughter, a Woods Loke Primary School pupil, was really excited about her role in the campaign.

Mrs Takman, 45, said: 'I think the weekend is a brilliant idea. It's a fun element with a very good cause behind it.'

Bruno Peek, RBL national co-ordinator, said having Emily as the face of the celebrations would help present a younger image for the charity. He said: 'It's about looking to the future. We're having a party to celebrate the last 90 years, but also using it to celebrate the next 90 years.'

The Poppy Parties will be a mixture of large-scale events, including a Great Poppy Ball set to take place at Great Yarmouth's racecourse, and much smaller get-togethers.

Mr Peek said: 'The idea is to get people having parties at home with family and friends – it's not a case of having to organise a big event. We're saying, 'Here's the 90th anniversary, let's have a party'. It doesn't matter whether it's at home, on the village green or in the local pub.'

It is hoped that about �40m of the �90m target will come from this year's Poppy Appeal leading up to Armistice Day.

The Royal British Legion began in July 1921 to help soldiers returning from the first world war to a country that had no jobs or homes for them.

In 2011, it will open the first of four planned Personnel Recovery Centres which will help injured servicemen from the army, navy, marines and airforce. The charity will also build the Royal British Legion Battle Back Challenge Centre, which will provide sport and adventure training for personnel hurt in conflicts.

To find out more about the Great Poppy Party Weekend, visit www.britishlegion.org.uk.