EXPECTATIONS for next year’s First World War centenary have been growing.
But the Poppy Appeal launch at Gunwharf Quays on Saturday once again showed the importance of remembering those who have died each year.
And for Verity James, 26, of Portchester, and her family the launch was particularly emotional.
She stood with her husband Matt, 28, along with nephew Thomas, three, and niece Phoebe, six.
All four watched on as the little ones’ mum, Lauren Bray, sang in the Portsmouth Military Wives Choir.
Thomas and Phoebe’s dad Lieutenant Commander Andy Bray is currently serving onboard HMS Dragon.
Verity said: ‘It was really good, I found it really emotional.
‘I spent most of it crying and I think Lauren had a few tears as well thinking of Andy but she did really well.
‘We’re a really close family and things like the Poppy Appeal are really important to us.
‘There are so many charities out there but living in the area that we do with so many families in the military, the work that they do is vital.’
The Portsmouth Military Wives Choir performed on the balcony at the base of the Spinnaker Tower, in Gunwharf Quays.
Crowds gathered to watch the group perform, as poppy petals were dropped from the balcony.
Organisers had hoped to send abseilers down the Spinnaker Tower dropping the petals but the poor weather on Saturday put paid to those plans.
The Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Steven Wylie, attended the launch.
He said: ‘It was brilliant, really moving and lovely meeting so many people.
‘They gave me and the president of Hampshire Poppy Appeal and the Royal British Legion both poppies.
‘And it was lovely to have the Portsmouth Military Wives Choir.’
He added it was important to him as his mother had been a poppy seller for 25 years before she died this year.
Claire Peppiatt is a community fundraiser at the legion.
She said: ‘It was wonderful, the choir was outstanding.
‘This year has seen a real pulling together to do a good thing.’