ONCE again, the people of Portsmouth are called upon to remember the sacrifices that the armed forces have made.
Following a record-breaking year in 2016, the launch of the Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal took place on Saturday.
Dozens of shoppers paid their respects at the launch in Gunwharf Quays where the army, Royal Air Force, Royal Marines veterans and sea cadets were present and standard bearers stood to attention.
Last year’s appeal raised a stunning £103,000 which according to appeal organiser Louise Purcell, was one of the best totals in the country.
She said: ‘Every year we beat our target so of course the aim this year is to beat it.
‘It really does show the pride that Portsmouth has as a city that is very much associated with its armed forces that our total seems to go up and up every single year.’
It really does show the pride that Portsmouth has as a city that is very much associated with its armed forces that our total seems to go up and up every single year.Louise Purcell, Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal organiser
Louise has 60 volunteers selling poppies around the city this year.
She added: ‘It was a very lovely ceremony this year which has set up the appeal really nicely.
‘We’ll now head out across the weekend and get started.’
The last 10 years have seen just over £750,000 raised in the city alone and with the centenary of the end of the First World War coming in 2018, the £1m mark could be broken in the coming years.
A brass band played as the standards were lowered and raised to mark the occasion.
Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Ken Ellcome was present at the proceedings and praised the appeal.
He said: ‘Today is one of the most important days for the city as the Poppy Appeal is launched with all the funds going to veterans who have served this country.
‘Last year, the appeal raised a substantial amount of money and we will look to beat that this year.’
Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP, was also present at the appeal launch.
He volunteered to go out on to the streets of Palmerston Road in Southsea on Saturday afternoon to sell poppies for the Royal British Legion.
He said: ‘I thought I would lend my hand after talking to Louise about what I could do to help the appeal.
‘The monies they have raised just shows you the feeling there is here for the armed forces.’