POPPY appeal organisers are experiencing a big demand for poppies—even though Remembrance Day is two months away.
Staff at the Royal British Legion in Rotherham say they have already been taking orders and may not be able to cope with this year’s Poppy Appeal without more volunteers.
Businesses and other organisations have been contacting the ex-service organisation asking to be provided with poppies in the run-up to the November 11 commemorations.
The official launch of the appeal is not held towards the end of October.
But demand for poppies is growing this year due to servicemen from the town being involved in ongoing conflicts such as Afghanistan and Iraq, organisers say.
“I have had calls from Rotherham businesses who are asking to be supplied with poppies already and it’s only just past the end of August,” said Debbie Westlake, community fundraiser for the Royal British Legion in South and West Yorkshire.
“I don’t think we will be able to meet demand unless we find some more volunteers. We are seriously worried about the number of volunteers.
“At this time with demands growing from the ongoing conflicts we need to raise our game so we can continue to provide full support for the ever growing number of returning heroes and their families.
“The Poppy Appeal is asking for enthusiastic, caring people who can give a few hours during the first two weeks of November.”
Last year, Rotherham’s Poppy Appeal raised a huge £74,037 toward the national total of £32,448,000.
The Poppy Appeal is the Royal British Legion’s principal way of collecting the welfare funds that are used to provide financial, social and emotional support to the serving and ex-service community.
The Legion currently spends more than a £1 million a week in its work helping over 160,000 members of the “Armed Forces Family”—dependents, veterans and the bereaved.
It campaigns and lobbies on a wide range of issues, including mental and physical health, housing and homelessness, employment, community and adult care, disability, skills development and debt.
Debbie added: “The amount we raised last year shows that the Royal British Legion and the Poppy Appeal enjoy the support of the people of Rotherham and we really hope volunteers will come forward.”
If you would like to volunteer, contact Debbie on 0113 256 4477 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org