Records are smashed as Portsmouth raises best-ever Poppy Appeal amount

RECORDS have tumbled as Portsmouth marked its biggest-ever Poppy Appeal collection this year.

Wednesday, 20th December 2017, 4:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 20th December 2017, 8:36 pm
Royal Marine Cadets Jasmine Curtis and William Midgley selling poppies in Portsmouth this year

Portsmouth’s prolific Poppy Appeal organisers Chris and Louise Purcell have once again smashed their own record-breaking collection amount, saying they’ve raised £109,000 this year.

The Kingston duo are being touted as the most successful collectors nationally in the Royal British Legion (RBL) appeal after surpassing their previous high of £103,000.

When the couple took the reins of the city’s appeal a decade ago, Portsmouth was generating about £25,000. During their 10-year tenure the pair have raised in excess of £750,000 for the armed forces charity.

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Civic leaders have now hailed the pair and their army of collectors as ‘inspirational’. Councillor Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘What they have achieved is awesome.

‘They are two of the strongest supporters of the Royal British Legion, nationally. We’re just so lucky to have them in Portsmouth. They are true Portsmouth heroes and an inspiration to us all.’

About 60 volunteers helped during this year’s effort, which culminated in the Remembrance event last month.

Pharmacy manager Louise, of Adames Road, added more cash would have been raised if thieves had not stolen five collection pots in last month’s appeal – the highest number taken during her time in charge.

Despite the blow, she said the generosity in Portsmouth had been ‘overwhelming’.

‘Every year people come out to support us, we just can’t believe how generous the city can be,’ said the 51-year-old. ‘Portsmouth has always been amazing but the support this year has blown us away.’

Collections elsewhere also surged. In Cosham, £45,139.11 was collected, £6,000 more than last year.

An impressive £54,000 was collected in Gosport with HMS Sultan generating £1,423.12 with its own fundraiser.

Donations across Lee-on-the-Solent and Stubbington came to £19,818.03.

Collections in Fareham also excelled. The town’s shopping centre raised £24,278.16, while Sainsbury’s generated £13,651.42. Collectors at St Johns Fareham raised a stunning £37,000.

Portchester also showed its support with £5,639.05 being achieved.

Havant and Emsworth branch had a strong year, with collectors bringing in about £27,000 across the two communities. Donations at Hayling Island amounted to £8,178.

Figures for other areas were unavailable at this time, the RBL said.