Local stars show support for Poppy Appeal

Sports personalities and Michelin-starred chefs amongst those backing campaign.

Celebrities in the Midlands are urging members of the public to wear their poppy with pride to show support for Armed Forces families, who are the focus of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal 2013.

Local sports stars Fabian Delph, midfielder from Aston Villa, Mitch Hancox, left-back for Birmingham City, Dougie Brown, Director of Cricket at Warwickshire and players from Wolverhampton Wanderers have backed the charity Appeal in order to help the Legion reach its national fundraising target of £37 million.

Michelin-starred chefs Andreas Antona of Simpsons and Adam Stokes of Adams Restaurant have also been joined by culinary greats Aktar Islam, of the award-winning Lasan Restaurant and David Colcombe, Chef Director of Opus, to support the Legion’s ‘Why I wear my poppy’ campaign, which asks patrons to explain what wearing a poppy means to them.

Mitch Hancox said: “I wear a poppy because I like to show respect to the armed forces, both past and present, and I think it’s important to ensure that they are not forgotten. Wearing something as small as a poppy is a simple gesture that shows a lot of respect.”

Andreas Antona, said: “I’d like to take the opportunity to thank our armed forces from the bottom of my heart. Their efforts should be acknowledged by every generation because the sacrifice of our troops, past and present, allows us to live the lives we lead today. There shouldn’t be anyone not humble enough to show respect to all those who have fallen and fought for us. Wearing a poppy with pride is my way of showing mine.”

Other Midlands personalities to step out in support of this year’s Poppy Appeal include Birmingham’s Lord Mayor Mike Leddy, Ammo Talwar, pioneer of Punch Records and Ray Linforth, Principle of University College Birmingham. The team at Dudley Zoological Gardens have also championed the Poppy Appeal by asking keepers to wear poppies throughout the charity campaign and even getting the animals involved.

The Royal British Legion Director of Fundraising Charles Byrne said:  “We support the entire Armed Forces community past and present, but families are at the heart of the Poppy Appeal 2013. We recognise the strength of mothers, fathers, partners and kids in Armed Forces families, who serve alongside their loved ones every single day, and often need practical care and advice too.

“We’re encouraging people to dig deep for the Poppy Appeal, so we can continue providing this vital support to individuals whether they’re still serving, transitioning back to civilian life or have left the Services, but importantly to their dependents as well.”

Running until Armistice Day on 11th November, the Poppy Appeal is the largest single fundraising event in the Legion’s calendar. Over 40 million poppies will be made and distributed for this year’s appeal across the UK and overseas by 350,000 dedicated collectors.

The Legion provides wide ranging, and practical support to Armed Forces families in need, including crisis grants, family breaks, benefits and money advice and at times sadly, inquest advice. Every poppy helps raise the £1.6 million needed by the Legion each week to deliver practical help and advice to Armed Forces community.