Picture Gallery: Canaries Legends kick-off Norfolk’s Poppy Appeal at Fakenham

One team has worked in some of the most dangerous parts of the world, fought a government closure and, most recently, kept civilians safe patrolling the skies over Libya.

The other has faced Premiership big guns, won the adulation of fans following promotions and experienced the anguish of relegation.

But this weekend the heroes of RAF Marham came together with some of Norfolk's sporting legends in the first major fundraiser for the county's 2011/2012 Poppy Appeal.

Some of Norwich City's best-loved former footballers have paved the way for this year's appeal by taking part in a charity match at the Fakenham ground.


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Dale Gordon's Canaries Legends joined forces with Fakenham Town players to take on a team from RAF Marham and raise money for the Royal British Legion.

Mr Gordon, who played for the Canaries from 1984 to 1991, said he and the team - including Darren Huckerby, Tony Spearing and Mike Milligan - were more than happy to help the charity as it celebrates its 90th year.

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'We have played a number of games this year, going around to local clubs and trying to help them out,' he said.

'We wanted to support this event as much as possible, hopefully generating a good crowd and a good pay day for the charity. There is no reason why we won't support the Poppy Appeal every year.'

'I have heard RAF Marham has lots of players - and they all look very young as well!' he joked.

Numbers on the Legends team were made up by four Fakenham's first team players, along with their manager Wayne Anderson.

'The lads have all been pretty excited,' said the club's vice-chairman Dean Betts. 'A lot of hard work has gone into organising the match and we just want to raise as much money as possible for the charity.'

Chairman Bill Clayton added: 'We support the Royal British Legion 100pc. All money on the gate and from the raffle is going to the charity.'

Yesterday's match, attended by around 200 fans, was the first major event to be held in Norfolk for this year's Poppy Appeal, due to be officially launched at Carrow Road on October 29.

Kate Williams, county manager for RBL Norfolk, said: 'The Legends were happy to do one last match for us before the end of the season. Everything raised will go to the legion and the team has forgone any expenses.

'The Fakenham club has been hugely supportive, giving us the grounds and facilities free of charge. I must say a huge thank you to everyone who made the match possible.

'We have been building our relationship with RAF Marham for a few years and it has really come on board to help us this year. They jumped at the chance to field a team.'

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the RBL and events have been held throughout the country to mark the milestone.

'This is a very special year,' Miss Williams added. 'Originally we were set up as a campaigning charity and that is still at the heart of what we do. But, there's so much more we do to support or ex-service personnel. We are not just clubs, we are here to support everyone with a services connection.

'On behalf of the legion, I would like to thank the public for its support over the last 90 years and invite everyone to join in with fund-raising events and activities to help us raise �90m in our 90th anniversary year.

'Hopefully we will be around for another 90 years - I think as long as there are ex-service personnel, there will be the Royal British Legion.'

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