High hopes for record Poppy Appeal

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A TIDE of sympathy for fallen and wounded servicemen could lead to a record Poppy Appeal, an organiser has claimed.

It has been a bloody year for British forces in Afghanistan, particularly among soldiers from Yorkshire.

Secretary of the Hull branch of the Royal British Legion and Poppy Appeal organiser Pat Arksey said people were thinking of soldiers like Pte Gregg Stone, of Atwick, near Hornsea, one of nine men from the 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, to have died on operations this year.

Mrs Arksey said: “I think people realise it’s close to home now.

“People have seen what has happened to Gregg and other soldiers from East Yorkshire and have decided they wanted to help their families and those coming back from Afghanistan injured.”

Mrs Arksey thanked all those who volunteered, adding: “From what the collectors have said, people have been putting notes in a lot more. We were at £26,500 on Tuesday and that was after just two days counting, so hopefully yes, we will (beat our record – which stands at £76,000).”

Each year over the past decade there has been an increase in the amount raised through the Poppy Appeal.

Nationally the Royal British Legion is hoping to raise £42m – up £2m on last year.

A spokeswoman said: “We always hope for a record-breaking year. The Poppy Appeal launches went fantastically and we are seeing support from the younger generation, lots of younger people are getting involved in volunteering. All the indications are good.

“The Poppy Appeal is close to people’s hearts, it’s a charity that is well regarded and well trusted across the UK.”

In contrast donations to charity fell by a “deeply worrying” 20 per cent in real terms last year, with causes receiving £1.7bn less, according to data from the Office for National Statistics published earlier this week. The analysis found fewer people gave to charity in 2011/12 and amounts also decreased, from £11 to £10 a month.