Ipswich Poppy Appeal marks record-breaking year after raising £110,000
PUBLISHED: 19:05 27 May 2019
Ipswich's Poppy Appeal has raised more than £100,000 to help support veterans and their families.
The town's Royal British Legion branch held a special awards ceremony to honour its achievement from the 2018 collection, with new Ipswich mayor Jan Perry in attendance.
Boasting an impressive £28,000 increase from last year, the branch raised £110,000 to support current and former servicemen and women, as well as their families, in the UK.
Branch chairman John Downie said: "It has been a fantastic year - but remember it isn't over yet.
"I'm incredibly proud of the group and all they have done to raise money for such a great cause."
Mr Downie, who joined the organisation after being inspired by his son - himself a former Royal Marine turned Navy serviceman - says he hopes the news will encourage more people to get involved.
He added: "You don't have to be a former or serviceman or woman to join the Royal British Legion and there are lots of ways to help and raise money.
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"It is important to remember that you're not only helping those who have served, but also their families as well."
Also in attendance was volunteer Bridget Potton, who received a 50-year service award for having sold poppies in the town since 1969.
"She is absolutely fantastic," Mr Downie said. "She started out as a teenager and has been doing it every year since.
"I'm really proud to have her as part of the team, but every person in this team is incredible.
"Every single person goes above and beyond."
Even though the result has already been celebrated, the year's Poppy Appeal runs until September - before starting again in October for next year.
Heading into his first full Poppy Appeal year as chairman, Mr Downie said he hopes the people of Ipswich will rally together to make next year another record-breaker.
It is said the use of the poppy as a symbol has origins in Canadian lieutenant colonel John McCrae's poem In Flanders Fields.
The group will hold its 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings remembrance event at the cenotaph in Christchurch Park in Ipswich on Thursday, June 6 at 7.30am.