The Poppy Appeal still needs our support | Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP

The Royal British Legion needs our support this year.The Royal British Legion needs our support this year.
The Royal British Legion needs our support this year.
All of us who live and work in Portsmouth and the surrounding areas feel a strong connection to our armed forces, the Royal Navy and its support services in particular.

Each year, when I stand on the steps of the Guildhall on Remembrance Sunday, I am hugely proud at the consistently massive turnout. No matter how awful the weather, you turn out in your droves to show respect and gratitude to those who serve, and especially to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our sake. The whole city pulls together at the annual moment. It seems even the seagulls turn out in force.

This year, thanks to this wretched pandemic, things will be different. There will be no Guildhall service and we must all find another way to mark the moment. But Covid-19 has not just frustrated our commemorations, but also the serious fundraising work of the British Legion.

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The Poppy Appeal is vital. The funds raised support those who have and are serving and their families. It provides care and independent living support, mental and physical health services, financial and employment assistance and helps strengthen the bonds between veterans and the communities they live in.

Like your support for the commemoration event, you have always raised a load of money for the Legion – by buying poppies and other items from street fundraisers or from poppy boxes in our shops and public buildings.

It is vital we all support the Poppy Appeal this year. The Legion’s services are needed now more than ever.

If you shop with Sainsbury’s you can donate or pick up a poppy either in-store or using their online service. There is a similar service in Tesco, Morrisons and Asda. Many places will have a QR code for you to scan and you can donate using the Text-to-Donate number.

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Some banks are also offering this service. You can donate at Lloyds and Santander branches. Alternatively, Wetherspoons are selling poppies too – another reason for our pubs to stay open!

If you want to do more to support the British Legion their website has some fundraising ideas and you can request a fundraising pack. You can of course purchase poppies and other merchandise from their website as well. Please do all you can to support and raise awareness of the Appeal, just as you have done every single year I can remember. I know you will, and I thank you for it.

In the coming weeks, all communities across the UK need to be strong, work together and consider how our behaviour and actions might affect others.

The lower the infection rate the easier it will be for us to recover from the wake of this dreadful disease. We are a strong city and community.

We must keep going and know that better days lie ahead. In the meantime let’s keep those organisations that do so much for us and others, like the British Legion, capable and resilient.