HUNDREDS of people have vowed to honour the fallen and support veterans in the ‘most important’ year for the Poppy Appeal.
Organisers across the Portsmouth area promised to make it the ‘best yet’ as this year’s Remembrance marks the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Icy October chills did not deter civic dignitaries, cadets, veterans and volunteers from launching the Royal Britsh Legion’s annual appeal at ceremonies in Cosham, Gunwharf Quays and Gosport on Saturday.
Terry Bryant, speaking at Tesco North Harbour for the launch of the Cosham appeal he leads, said: ‘This year is more significant than previous years because of the centenary.’
He and his wife raised £47,000 last year spearheading the Cosham appeal but hope to fundraise even more.
‘We want to make it the best yet and raise more than we did last year,’ he said.
Deputy Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor David Fuller, was presented with the first poppy at a ceremony in Gunwharf Quays on Saturday.
He said: ‘Portsmouth really is at the forefront of the Poppy Appeal and is recognising the importance of the centenary.
‘The city does well at these sort of things.’
Portsmouth appeal organiser Louise Purcell, 52, is bowing out after 11 years at the helm.
But she vowed that this year would be bigger than even last year’s £116,000 raised.
Louise, of Adames Road, Fratton, said: ‘We have had so much support already this year and are hoping that this will help to mark the most important year in a very long time.’
In Gosport, the borough’s mayor Cllr Diane Furlong helped start the fundraising and Remembrance period at the ceremony in Lawrence Square.
Cllr Furlong said: ‘The freedom and equality these veterans fought for will never be forgotten.’
Gosport Poppy Appeal organiser Andy Brown added: ‘The Royal British Legion is just as important now as it was when it was formed in 1921, but thanks to the people of Gosport we have had great support
‘Every year we are humbled by it and we hope they’ll all get involved.’
He added: ‘From buying poppies to volunteering with the legion, there’s so much that people can do to help us.’
Service reveals the ‘true spirit’ of city’s people
BURSTING with civic pride a councillor has said people in the city are at their best when remembering those who have given their lives to serve others.
Hilsea ward councillor Frank Jonas, who attended the Cosham Poppy Appeal launch at Tesco North Harbour, said people across the city backed the fundraising each year.
Cllr Jonas said: 'This is the true Portsmouth spirit and the city at its best. It is amazing how many businesses and residents get involved in this important cause.’
The Fareham appeal launch on Wednesday saw the unveiling of two memorial benches in honour of 82-year-old Ted Burridge, a well-known poppy seller who died earlier this year.