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Royal British Legion celebrates 100 years of Poppy Appeal

To mark its centenary, the Royal British Legion has been celebrating the contribution of their collectors who have been at the heart of the Poppy Appeal in local communities for over 100 years.

Vera Parnaby, 82, has been a committed collector in County Durham for more than seven decades.

Known locally as ‘Mrs Poppy’, she has raised well in excess of £1m for the Poppy Appeal during 75 years of dedication to the Armed Forces community.

In 2020 Vera’s volunteering was recognised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson when she was presented with a Points of Light award.

Some of this year’s Poppy Appeal collectors explained why they are involved.

Andy Owens, an Army veteran and Poppy Appeal collector for 30 years said:

I enjoy speaking to the people who come and donate, so it’ll be great to be back out there.

10-year-old Maisie Mead is a Poppy Appeal collector in Plymouth and has been involved in the Poppy Appeal since she was four. She began supporting RBL after her dad was injured and medically discharged and collects because she wants to help other soldiers like her dad, who joined the Armed Forces very young.

Maisie said:

I just want people to remember and make sure we all take a moment

Mirza Shahzad

Mirza is the Regional Coordinator of Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) for the South-West of the UK and has been supporting the Poppy Appeal since he moved to the UK from Pakistan in 2012.

Mirza said  

It gives us a great feeling that we’re doing something very positive by standing with our Armed Forces.

The Royal British Legion has also launched a new video, ‘The Truth Behind the Myths’ to help people understand the facts after worrying rumours that bubble up each year.

The poppy is a symbol of Remembrance and hope for a peaceful future.

It represents all those who lost their lives on active service in all conflicts; from the beginning of the First World War right up to present day.

During the First World War previously beautiful countryside was blasted, bombed and fought over, again and again. The landscape swiftly turned to fields of mud: bleak and barren where little or nothing could grow.

But out of this devastation the delicate but resilient bright red Flanders poppies grew and flourished in their thousands.

Photo: Royal British Legion