Shower of red petals helps launch appeal
- Credit: Archant
A symbolic shower of red petals rained down on what was once one of the world's most powerful tanks today, to mark the launch of this year's Royal British Legion (RBL) Poppy Appeal.
Held at north Norfolk military museum the Muckleburgh Collection, the event saw Royal Navy and Air Force personnel sprinkle a group of Norfolk servicemen and women's children with artificial flower petals from the top of a retired 1960s FV4201 Chieftan battle tank emblazoned with poppies and the Poppy Appeal logo.
'We did a similar thing with a tornado at RAF Marham last year, so we thought it would be a good idea to have a tank this time,' explained RBL Norfolk community fundraiser Lyn Hatch.
'We wanted to let people know that the Poppy Appeal is starting and, hopefully, this will encourage everyone to support it.'
Guests at the launch included armed forces and RBL representatives and their families, as well as Muckleburgh Collection owner Sir Michael Savory and Andy Wicks of Cromer-based charity Outide the Wire, which offers advice and support to serving and ex-forces personnel with drug and alcohol issues.
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The service, which is run by drug and alcohol charity the Matthew Project, was launched last year with a £35,000 grant from the Royal British Legion.
The Poppy Appeal, which raised £617,000 in Norfolk in 2013, this year has a target of £40m nationally.
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'Considering the economic climate, we did wonderfully well last year,' Mrs Hatch said. 'And we are hoping that, this year, we will raise even more.'
The Royal British Legion, which is the country's leading service charity, provides care, support and advice to serving members of the armed forces and ex-service men and women and their families.
The theme of this year's appeal is, 'Live on – to the Memory of the Fallen and the Future of the Living'.
'We hope that in this centenary year, people will help us reach our target and I would like to thank all our volunteer collectors as, without them, the Royal British Legion wouldn't be able to do the wonderful work it does,' Mrs Hatch said.