Legion chairman asks Suffolk to remember the Poppy Appeal despite pandemic

Poppies can still be bought despite changes to Remembrance Commemorations this year. Picture: Katie Collins/PA

Poppies can still be bought despite changes to Remembrance Commemorations this year. Picture: Katie Collins/PA - Credit: PA

The chairman of the Suffolk Royal British Legion has issued an impassioned plea for residents of the county not to forget this year’s Poppy Appeal despite Covid-19 making it impossible for fundraisers to operate normally.

Normal Remembrance parades cannnot happen this year. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Normal Remembrance parades cannnot happen this year. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN - Credit: Archant

Ken Rowbottom wrote: “We are now in October and autumn is with us, the month of November is ever closer and with it heralds the start of the annual Remembrance Commemorations throughout Great Britain.

“In 2019 the Poppy Appeal and Remembrance Day were commemorated in the customary manner and once again our sincerest thanks to friends, supporters and the general public for their most generous financial support. It was a magnificent gesture.

“This year in 2020 we looked forward to celebrating and commemorating two major events, VE Day on the May 8, that marked the end of the hostilities in Europe in 1945, followed by VJ Day, on August 15, that marked the cessation of hostilities in Burma and South East Asia for all British, Allied and Commonwealth Forces.

MORE: Suffolk remembered VJ Day in August

“Little did we know that Great Britain would be subject to an attack, the like of which had never been seen before, apart from The Spanish Flu epidemic shortly after the end of World War 1.

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“The coronavirus pandemic gained momentum through February and at the end of March, Great Britain went into lockdown and with it the numerous restrictions imposed upon the country by a government that has been desperate to prevent a further spread of the virus and the spiralling death toll.

“We are now seeing a second surge of the virus and because of the restrictions that are still in place, our fundraising activities this year in support of The Poppy Appeal and Remembrance will be severely curtailed.

MORE: Remembrance commemorations different under pandemic

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“As an example there will be no door to door Poppy Appeal collections, there will be a limited number of outlets at which poppies will be available and much more use will be made of modern technology, to donate to The Poppy Appeal.

“There will be no formal Remembrance Day Parades in the county, due to the government restrictions that are in place to curb an increase in the spread of the coronavirus.

“We still have a duty of care to our veterans, the World War Two Veterans are still with us, albeit they are fewer and frailer each year. We have other veterans with us, the legacy of numerous conflicts that our armed forces have been engaged in since the end of WW2: Korea, Malaysia, Suez, Cyprus, Borneo, Aden, Northern Ireland, and The Falkland Islands.

“We have also witnessed the recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. In these two conflicts the introduction of new tactics, weaponry and powerful munitions have created horrific and life changing injuries for our service personnel.

“Our medical services have responded magnificently to this challenge, with significant advances in life saving surgery, new methods of treatment, advanced prosthetics and after care treatment for the severely wounded.

“In former years those severe injuries that would have resulted in the death of a service person can now be treated using the vast range of modern surgical and medical procedures that can be brought into play.

“It is our duty to care for the veterans and to ensure that they can enjoy a decent quality of life. They will be with us for many years to come and we must never forget the service that they have given to our Country, to ensure that we live in peace.

“It is stressed that the Poppy Appeal is NOT cancelled. The Poppy Appeal is NOT postponed, it will be conducted in a totally different format this year.

“In previous years the generous donations given by supporters have been instrumental in enabling the Poppy Appeal to provide essential support to the veterans and their families.

MORE: Suffolk normally turns out to mark Remembrance Sunday

“In November please remember to buy and wear your poppy. It is the world wide flower of remembrance and in wearing it, we can show that those persons who gave their lives for freedom and those persons who still carry the scars of those numerous conflicts are always remembered.”

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