MUSIC was played and speeches were made at events to mark the launch of this year’s Poppy Appeal.
Portsmouth Lord Mayor Councillor Frank Jonas led a ceremony at Gunwharf Quays for the Royal British Legion fundraiser.
The legion’s Portsmouth-based Victory Brass Band played to an audience including 10 standard bearers and many armed forces veterans.
Portsmouth Poppy Appeal organiser Louise Purcell said £98,000 had been raised in 2014 and they were hoping to pass £100,000 this year.
She said: ‘The main purpose now is to inspire the youngsters so those who fought won’t ever be forgotten.’
Elsewhere, about 100 people were at an event in Gosport’s High Street.
Mayor Cllr Keith Farr launched the appeal by buying the first poppy.
RBL Gosport and Alverstoke branch president Cllr Richard Dickson said the annual appeal meant a lot to the town.
Cllr Dickson said: ‘We are a military town after all so it’s important that we support our armed forces. Last year we raised more than £45,000.
‘That’s more than 50p per head for every man, woman and child in Gosport.
‘It’s wonderful that we are able to support them that much.’
The Gosport-based Rose and Thistle Pipe Band played and the Gosport Army Cadet Force branch was there.
Branch chairman Andy Brown, himself a Royal Navy veteran, said the appeal was as important as ever.
Mr Brown said: ‘When I left the services I was able to find a job but not everyone is so lucky, and a lot of people need our help.’
A launch at Havant’s Tesco Extra supermarket was led by mayor Cllr Leah Turner. Havant and Emsworth poppy appeal organiser Olive Rush said she had been shocked to hear some people were starting to question the need for the poppy appeal.
She said: ‘Of course there’s still a need for it. They are still helping people in the younger generation. We shouldn’t forget what they have done for us.’
The appeal runs until November 8, Remembrance Sunday.
The legion provides financial, social and emotional support to members and veterans of the armed forces, their families and dependants. The legion’s advice line is 08088 028 080.