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Focus on victims of Afghan War

THE Royal British Legion’s 2009 Poppy Appeal in Shirley will target support for the wounded and bereaved of Afghanistan.

THE Royal British Legion’s 2009 Poppy Appeal in Shirley will target support for the wounded and bereaved of Afghanistan.

Under the motto, “For their sake, wear a poppy,” the Shirley Poppy Appeal was launched in Shirley Library by Lorely Burt, Member of Parliament for Solihull on Monday November 2.

“The Royal British Legion is the leading UK charity providing direct, practical support for our wounded heroes and bereaved Armed Forces families,” said Shirley branch chairman, Ernie Riley.

“The past 12 bloody months of conflict have increased the need for our help both today and for years to come.”

The Poppy Appeal will seek to equal last year’s record total of £31 million, Mr. Riley added. “Despite the current economic hardships, we trust the people of Shirley will show their support for those who have sacrificed on behalf of their country.”

Shirley Royal British Legion is expecting their Remembrance Day Parade & Service to be very well attended by local people turning out to show their support for the men and women of our Armed Forces. Shirley Pipe Band will lead the Parade from Shirley RBL HQ, to St. James the Great Church on Sunday November 8, for an outdoor service.

Since 2003, the Legion has provided financial help to 10,000 Service personnel, recent veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and their families. “We represented one-third of all the appeals for higher compensation payments for injuries suffered in Afghanistan,” Ernie Riley said. “And, our campaigns have led to increased compensation awards which have placed an extra £7.5 million in the pockets of the most seriously injured.”

The Legion currently spends more than a £1 million a week in its work helping over 130,000 other members of the Armed Forces Family - dependents, veterans and the bereaved. This year it hopes to extend its reach to more than 160,000 beneficiaries. “In order to fund this work we would like this year’s Poppy Appeal to equal last year’s record total of £31 million,” Mr. Riley added.

The Royal British Legion’s 2009 Poppy Appeal will target support for the wounded and bereaved of Afghanistan with a sobering poster campaign.

Using the motto, “For their sake, wear a poppy,” the Poppy Appeal poster campaign also for the first time features a coffin being repatriated from Afghanistan.

The Poppy Appeal posters feature Elizabeth Cross widow Hester Wright, 22, of Mansfield, Notts, and her six-year-old Son, Josh. She lost her husband, Drummer Damian Wright of 2nd Battalion The Mercian Regiment (Worcester and Foresters) in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2007, and she has since received Legion assistance.

The poster campaign also shows LlCpl Peter Dunning, 24, of the Armoured Support Group Royal Marines, who lost both legs when the vehicle he was travelling in went over a makeshift mine in Helmand province in May 2008. Originally from Wallasey, Merseyside, he is still serving and is based at RNAS Yeovilton; the Legion is providing him with aids to daily living.

“Nothing can replace the loss of Damian,” said Mrs Wright. “But knowing that the Legion has been there to offer comfort and support has been a great help.

“For Josh’s sake, wear a poppy.”

 

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