Poppy Appeal launches in Great Yarmouth

The Poppy Shop has opened its doors in Great Yarmouth's Victoria Arcade, as campaigners try to top last year's record fundraising total of more than �33,000.

Royal British Legion (RBL) organisers in Great Yarmouth said they owe their success to the generosity of the public, and that their support was 'unprecedented'.

And branch chairman Paul Williams hoped for another show of strength this year.

'As collectors we get some wonderful comments from the public and it means a lot to us,' he said. 'We raise a phenomenal amount and that's down to the public.'

Thousands of people turned out to St George's Park in 2011 to show their respects and �33,187.56 has raised by the Poppy Appeal in Yarmouth - the highest total in the history of the campaign.

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Campaigners are keen to stress the Poppy Appeal continues to help servicemen, and is not just for those who fought in the two world wars.

Dennis Capel, branch vice chairman, served on a Royal Navy Minesweeper in the 1950s and 1960s. And now his son has followed in his footsteps into the forces, due to go on a tour of Afghanistan with the RAF next year.

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'We're not very happy about it but that's the way it goes,' said Mr Capel, 72 of Caister. 'It's part of the job.

'We've got to support ex-servicemen and those who are still serving.'

Many of the RBL branch are ex-forces, and say their experiences have shown them how important it is to have a support network once they have been demobbed.

Bill Turnbull, 78, of Caister, served in the middle east with the Royal Artillery, and Derek Croft, 76, of Cobholm, was posted to Sudan with First Battalion the Royal Fusiliers.

The Poppy Shop is at 27/28 Victoria Arcade, with the unit provided by kind permission of Bycrofts.

Its opening hours today are 10am to 1pm, tomorrow 10am to 2pm, and Monday to Friday 10am to 1pm - extended to 2pm on Wednesday.

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