GETTING more young people involved is vital to keeping the Poppy Appeal alive.
That’s the message from the Gosport’s mayor as the town’s youth citizen of the year, Ronnie Hazlie helped to launch the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
Gosport’s Mayor, Councillor Linda Batty said: ‘We need to get the younger generation involved in the Poppy Appeal because they are the future and it’s important they are a part of celebrating the veterans.’
Ronnie was chosen for the youth citizen award as he collects tins and supplies for food banks in the area.
The 10-year-old said: ‘Last year I collected lots of tins and I want to get 500 this year.
‘I am going to sell poppies at school as well to my friends.’
His mother, Katy Hazlie, said: ‘I am so proud of him and I nearly cried watching him launch the event with the mayor.
‘Ronnie has always been involved with the Poppy Appeal because my dad was in the services and we have taken him to Remembrance Day every year.’
The launch event, which was held in the town centre saw a live band and singer help raise awareness of the appeal.
Andy Brown, chairman of the Royal British Legion Gosport branch, said: ‘Last year the Gosport branch raised £60,000 and at Lee-on-the-Solent they raised £35,000 so along the peninsula the Royal British Legion raised £95,000.
‘Compared with Portsmouth which raised £105,000 – but it is a much bigger region.
‘The people of Gosport always get behind the appeal.’
Andy, who was a marine engineer in the navy for 24 years, hopes to raise more funds this year to go towards charities across the area.
He said: ‘Every donation is important and it doesn’t matter if we don’t beat last year’s amount but it would be great.
‘All of our volunteers work very hard but it would be good to have a few more so we could do more.’
Andy has been chairman of the Gosport branch for five years.
He added: ‘For me as an ex-Royal Navy man, I know some people who come out don’t have as much luck as I did in getting a job so I want to raise money to help them out.’
To help out with the Poppy Appeal contact the branch on 023 92 50 3736