Poppy Day appeal saved in Colchester

THIS year's Poppy Day Appeal in Colchester has been saved after a retired serviceman was given a shop in the town from which to run the operation.Retired Lt Col Don Smith spoke last week to the East Anglian Daily Times of his fears the appeal could be doomed because he had been unable to find a temporary base to produce wreaths, crosses and poppies.

THIS year's Poppy Day Appeal in Colchester has been saved after a retired serviceman was given a shop in the town from which to run the operation.

Retired Lt Col Don Smith spoke last week to the East Anglian Daily Times of his fears the appeal could be doomed because he had been unable to find a temporary base to produce wreaths, crosses and poppies.

A central location is vital for the team of Royal British Legion Volunteers because it is easier to distribute the goods to people in the town.

After an emotional plea for help last week Lt Col Smith, 69, was inundated with calls from shops and businesses offering help in the run up to Remembrance Day.


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Estate Agents Fenn Wright managed to find empty premises in Priory Walk for the volunteers.

Lt Col Smith has begun clearing out the disused shop in preparation for its opening, planned for this Saturday.

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He thanked the EADT for highlighting the predicament the volunteers faced and said the shop would make a great difference to the amount they could raise.

"The good news is we now have a shop and when I found out the sigh of relief could have been heard right across Colchester.

"It had been a tremendous concern because without a shop we would not have had a central location to work from."

He estimated the appeal could have lost more than £15,000 revenue if he had been forced to run the operation from his home.

Lt Col Smith said he had about 20 volunteers and had even received offers of help from people in Cambridge and Great Yarmouth.

He also thanked all the shops, churches and schools who offered places from which the campaign could store goods or operate.

The hunt for a shop was backed by the town's Lib Dem MP Bob Russell, who said it was an especially important year for the Poppy Day Appeal following the involvement of Colchester based troops in the war in Iraq.

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