Bid is on to make this year’s Poppy Appeal total best yet
WAR veterans of conflicts all over the world gathered in the town centre this weekend to appeal to citizens to remember those who did not make it home.
Saturday saw the launch of the 2013 Poppy Appeal by Swindon’s Royal British Legion at the Brunel Shopping centre, which was followed on Sunday by a dedication to fallen solders at a memorial garden at the Cenotaph in Regents Circus.
Last year’s appeal, raised more than £44,000, the most ever raised by the Swindon branch, and it is hoped this year’s appeal will be even bigger.
With the 100-year anniversary of the outbreak of World War One approaching next year, the Legion hope the spirit of Remembrance will be as strong as ever.
Alan Baker, the chairman of the Swindon branch, said: “We want to thank everyone who donated over the course of the year.
“Everyone in Swindon has always been very generous and we are extremely grateful but we need people to dig deep again.
“The Armed Forces and Swindon are closely linked so this appeal is important to a lot of people.”
As well as supporting members of the Royal British Legion some of the money raised will also be donated to the military charity Help For Heroes.
Alan said: “The money raised goes towards such a good cause. It goes towards helping people who have risked their lives for this country.
“It is not just the work they do in helping former service men and women but the money does such important work in helping their families and dependents.”
The veterans were joined at the launch by Swindon Mayor Nick Martin, on his first official engagement after returning from sick leave.
He said: “The poppy event is always an important event in Swindon and means a lot to many people.
“Within Swindon there are a lot of people who are serving or who have a relation in the Armed Forces so it always gets a good following from the local people.
“The money raised goes to such a valuable and important cause.”
On Sunday afternoon, several veterans gathered at the Cenotaph in Regent Circus to formally open the memorial garden in the build up to Remembrance Sunday.
Anyone wishing to pay their respect will be able to purchase a cross at a nearby newsagents to place in the miniature garden.
n To help raise further funds, several events are being organised in Swindon.
On November 3 a Festival of Remembrance will be held at the Wyvern Theatre and will involve performances from the Military Wives Choir, Swindon Brass as well as many other musicians.
The concert will start at 1.30pm and tickets will cost £12 with all proceeds going to the Poppy Appeal.
Last year’s event was cancelled due to low ticket sales so people are being urged to get behind this year’s performance.
On the day before Remembrance Sunday, the Run to Remember is being organised at Lydiard Park to raise further funds.
People of all ages and abilities are being invited to take part in the event, which is now in its second year.
For information on how to purchase tickets for the concert visit www.wyverntheatre.org.uk/ or to enter the run go to run2remember.org.uk