After news the Royal British Legion was struggling to find poppy sellers nationally this year, Standard reporter Shelley Marriott volunteered to help out with the appeal in Gainsborough.
The Royal British Legion (RBL) Poppy Appeal runs nationwide from Saturday, October 24, to Saturday, November 7.
It is the main fund raising activity carried out by the RBL and runs until Remembrance Sunday, which this year falls on Sunday, November 8. The nationwide act of remembrance, led by the Queen, takes place on November 11, and is marked by a two minute silence to remember those who gave their lives in the service of their country.
The Gainsborough branch of the RBL has Poppy Appeal collection boxes in schools, pubs, clubs and shops throughout the town. In certain shops the collection points are manned by RBL volunteers.
Last year the people of Gainsborough donated more than £22,000.
I was volunteering at Morrisons, in Heapham Street, Gainsborough, with Frank Charlton and Dave Freestone who were working on the stall from 9am until 5pm.
The Morrisons store appeal is run by store manager, Neil Swift, Tony and Jean Rodgers, Dave Freestone, Frank Charlton, Fred and Gavin Charles and David Lomas.
In the first four days they raised more than £2,630 so they are well on their way to beating last year’s total of £5,575.
As well as the traditional poppies, Jean Rodgers crocheted 150 poppies. These proved very popular and there were only three left while I was volunteering. These helped to raise more than £600 as they were sold for £4 each.
This year is Frank’s first time in Gainsborough.
Frank said: “The response has been brilliant. Some people make a donation and you can tell they want to tell you something. You hear stories about when they were in the forces. We like to take time to spend the time with them to talk, even when we’re busy. It restores your faith in humanity.
“Traditionally Gainsborough has always been a small branch. But all the members are keen and enthusiastic.”
Dave is in Gainsborough for the second year running.
He said: “I joined because I wanted to become involved.
“As well as the classic poppy there are also wrist bands and customised poppies including pin badges. They have the dates on them so people are collecting them.”
What I noticed the most about my time spent on the stall is that you don’t need to ask people to buy a poppy. Almost everyone who walked past made a donation. Some didn’t even want to take a poppy, they just wanted to make a contribution.
Gainsborough’s Civic Remembrance Service will be held at All Saints’ Parish Church on Sunday, November 8, at 10am and conclude at the War Memorial for the Last Post and two minute silence at 11am followed by the Reveille and the laying of wreaths.
Another two minute silence will be held on November 11, Armistice Day, and the Last Post will be sounded in Market Place.
followed by a short Service of Remembrance.