THE POPPY Appeal celebrates its 90th birthday this year – and Whitby residents are working hard to ensure veterans can continue to receive priceless support.
The Royal British Legion, which organises the world-famous poppy appeal, spends over £50million each year, providing a wide range of welfare assistance to veterans of the armed forces.
Former wireless operator Frank Bull, who served at codebreaking headquarters Bletchley Park, has been treasurer of the Whitby and district poppy appeal committee for 45 years.
Mr Bull said: “Help the Heroes do great work for servicemen, but when they are finished with the forces it is the Royal British Legion that takes over the responsibility of looking after them and their families.
“We go back, not only to World War Two, but also to all the other conflicts and peacekeeping missions that British troops have been involved with in the years since.
“This year is the 90th anniversary of the poppy appeal and so we’re hoping to raise £90m.”
Members of the Whitby Music Club will be playing the Last Post at various Remembrance services in the area on 11 November.
The trumpeters are William Stewart-Cross, Charlie Kay, Eleanor Paxton and Lina Cox and 11am services are set to be held at Remembrance Corner in Pannett Park, Bank Corner on Baxtergate, the Bandstand and at the RNLI boathouse.
A service will also be held at St Stephen’s Church in Fylingdales and at St Mary’s Church a service takes place at 2.30pm.
Borough Mayor John Blackburn has pledged his support to the Poppy Appeal.
He said: “For this year’s appeal the Royal British Legion is focussing on supporting the Afghan generation of the Armed Forces family.
“Since 2003, the Legion has helped more than 10,000 ex-servicemen and family members who are part of the Afghan and Iraq generation.
“With the conflict in Afghanistan continuing at its current intensity, it is inevitable this number will continue to rise.
“In my view it is vitally important that we do what we can to help the Royal British Legion provide support to these soldiers and their families now, and for the rest of their lives.
“The national Poppy Appeal raised approximately £36m last year and I hope that all readers and their families will support this year’s appeal.
“Please donate as much as you can and wear your poppy with pride, by doing this you will be helping to support thousands of young soldiers, their families and ex-servicemen and women of our country.”
More than 400 people and organisations in the Whitby area assist the appeal by selling poppies and Mr Bull said the organisation takes a huge effort.
He added: “We have 400 boxes to get ready.
“We have a store about Ladbrokes and they let us have the store room free.
“George Gallon and Derick Tyreman start in January, they begin clearing all the old boxes and making it ready for July, when they start making the boxes up.”
In addition to the poppy sale, a commemorative needlework piece is being offered to the highest bidder in a silent auction.
The item will be on display in Colin, Brown and Kidson, located in Wellington Road, Whitby.
The Whitby and District Poppy Appeal Committee is also appealing for new members to assist with the administration of the appeal.
If you would like to get involved, contact treasurer Frank Bull on (01947) 603266, George Gallon on (01947) 601637, or Derick Tyreman on (01947) 602479.