‘Railway children’ help launch Norfolk’s Poppy Appeal on the Poppy Line

Launching the Poppy Appeal at the North Norfolk Railway's Holt station: Royal Norfolk Regiment Livin

Launching the Poppy Appeal at the North Norfolk Railway's Holt station: Royal Norfolk Regiment Living History Group members (from left) Darren Porter, Stephen Lord and Neil Storey, with Riley Hogarth, 11, Sam Carruthers, 12, and Thomas Jordan, 11. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

The Royal British Legion's (RBL) annual Poppy Appeal has been launched on the North Norfolk Railway with a re-enactment of youngsters waving First World War soldiers off to war by train.

Launching the Poppy Appeal at the North Norfolk Railway's Holt station: Royal Norfolk Regiment Livin

Launching the Poppy Appeal at the North Norfolk Railway's Holt station: Royal Norfolk Regiment Living History Group members (from left) Darren Porter, Neil Storey and Stephen Lord. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant

Crowds gathered at the railway's Holt station to take photographs as Royal Norfolk Regiment Living History Group members Neil Storey, Darren Porter and Stephen Lord leaned from the windows of a carriage pulled by the aptly-named Poppy Line's star locomotive the Black Prince, with 11-year-olds Thomas Jordan and Riley Hogarth and Sam Carruthers, 12, waving from the platform dressed as First World War schoolboys.

RBL Community fundraiser for Norfolk Lyn Hatch said that because this year commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, the launch had added poignancy.

This month also marks the anniversary of the death of North Norfolk Railway founder William Marriott's Royal Engineer son Stanley, who was killed in action in France aged 22, in October 1916.

'We are calling on people to consider all generations of the armed forces community when they wear their poppy,' Ms Hatch said. 'It is a powerful symbol of remembrance and hope, worn to commemorate the sacrifices of our armed forces in the past, and to show support to those serving today.'

Stephen Lord looks on as eleven-year-old Riley Hogarth waves his fellow WW1 soldiers Neil Storey and

Stephen Lord looks on as eleven-year-old Riley Hogarth waves his fellow WW1 soldiers Neil Storey and Darren Porter off on the train at the launch of this year's Royal British Legion Poppy appeal at the North Norfolk Railway, Holt. Picture: KAREN BETHELL - Credit: Archant


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This year's fundraising target in Norfolk is £725,000, with a national target set of £43m.

Ms Hatch, who, earlier this year, raised £500 for the appeal by completing a 30-mile sponsored walk around the Somme battlefields, added that the Legion had last year responded to 780,000 requests for help.

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'Every donation makes a difference to veterans, service men and women and their loved ones,' she said.

To help with this year's appeal, visit www.britishlegion.org.uk or phone 07795 426529.

Have you got a Remembrance story? Contact karen.bethell@archant.co.uk

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