Worksop: The Guardian backs the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal ahead of Remembrance Day

Guardian reporter Sophie Wills selling poppies with the Royal British Legion in Worksop. Pictured with Sophie are David Scott, Peter Hopkins, Maureen Gresham and Harry Gresham.
Guardian reporter Sophie Wills selling poppies with the Royal British Legion in Worksop. Pictured with Sophie are David Scott, Peter Hopkins, Maureen Gresham and Harry Gresham.
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After news that volunteers for the Royal British Legion (RBL) have been diminishing nationally, Guardian reporter Sophie Wills helped to sell poppies for this year’s Poppy Appeal.

The Worksop branch of the RBL is encouraging the community to get involved with its annual fundraising activity, which runs from Saturday, October 24, to Saturday, November 7.

This year’s appeal is in full flow, with collection boxes installed in schools, pubs and shops throughout Worksop. In certain shops such as Sainsbury’s and Aldi, collection points are also being manned by RBL volunteers.

Last year, the people of Worsop donated more than £30,000.

Sophie volunteered on Bridge Place and was joined by vice chairman of RBL Nottinghamshire Peter Hopkins and Worksop branch chairman David Scott.

Peter told her: “This year’s appeal will be ending soon so it’s obviously a little late to sign up as volunteer now, but we’re really hoping to inspire more people to get involved in 2016.

“Volunteering for the poppy appeal is a fun and rewarding experience. You hear some incredible stories from people who come up to you to show their support for the Legion.

“I’d encourage anyone who is thinking about volunteering to look into RBL organisations like The Battle Back Centre, which helps sick and wounded service personnel.

“Seeing someone who has had to have their legs amputated after being injured in Afghanistan go on to do things like kayaking and rock climbing at the centre just leaves you speechless.

“Knowing that you’re helping those people makes volunteering completely worthwhile.”

Along with the signature paper poppies, there were also poppy pin badges, friendship bracelets, crosses and wristbands to sell which proved popular with passers-by.

Peter added: “The poppy appeal boxes are put together with help from the Worksop cadets, who have also done a lot of collecting in the town centre, raising hundreds of pounds for the Legion.

“That’s the great thing about the appeal, it reaches out to the youth. It’s very important to us that they get involved.”

It has been a busy year for the Worksop branch of the RBL, which had to appeal for new membership in 2014 to prevent it from shutting down.

The Guardian later threw its weight behind a campaign dedicated to saving the branch and it has since gone from strength to strength, becoming a runner up for ‘Most Improved Branch’ award in the Jellicoe Cup competition.

Ray Fielding, branch secretary, said: “We should never underestimate the support of the whole community in helping the Royal British Legion move forward in the Worksop area, and the Guardian’s campaign made a real difference.”

Worksop Remembrance Day Parade and Service, arranged by Bassetlaw Council, will take place on Sunday, November 8.

The Parade will ‘form-up’ in the Old Market Square in front of the Town Hall at around 10.10 am under the direction of the Parade Marshall Sgt Neil Orton.

At approx 10.40 am the Parade will ‘march off’ from the Market Square down to the War Memorial via Potter Street and Watson Road.

A short wreath laying Service and Act of Remembrance conducted by Father Stephen Parker will take place at the War Memorial at approximately 10.50am. The Worksop Salvation Army Band will play ‘The Last Post’ and the ‘Reveille’ prior to two minutes silence at 11.00am.

Find out more about volunteering for the Royal British Legion at http://www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/volunteer.