Record amount raised in Suffolk Poppy Appeal as county marks 100th anniversary of outbreak of First World War

Service to mark Remembrance Sunday on Christchurch Park, Ipswich. Seven year old Charlee Gooding who

Service to mark Remembrance Sunday on Christchurch Park, Ipswich. Seven year old Charlee Gooding who is a poppy seller.

In this centenary year of the outbreak of the First World War, people across Suffolk have so far helped to raise £400,000 for the annual fundraising Poppy Appeal campaign.

Re-dedication of Woodbridge War Memorial followed by open air Remembrance Day service on Market Hill

Re-dedication of Woodbridge War Memorial followed by open air Remembrance Day service on Market Hill.

This is already up 3% on last year’s appeal total, and the counting is still ongoing.

The Ipswich branch’s total fundraising for the whole of last year brought in £62,000. But last night at the branch annual general meeting, it was announced that £58,000 has already been raised from this year’s Poppy Appeal alone, and with donations still pouring in, last year’s record is set to be smashed.

Meanwhile, the Sudbury & District branch area has seen the biggest increase and is on course for a total of £40,000, almost 20% more than last’s year’s final tally of £34,000.

In the Eastern region as a whole, just over £4million has been donated to the cause, which will go towards providing financial, social and emotional support to members and veterans of the British Armed Forces, their families and dependants.

Several factors have contributed to the surge in generosity, according to those involved in the appeal.

The extensive coverage of the First World War commemorations, the announcement that British troops are to return from Afghanistan and the stunning display of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London have all kept the reason for the appeal at the forefront of public consciousness.

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President of Suffolk RBL, Air Vice-Marshal Bill Rimmer said: “Suffolk has a strong tradition of kindness and generosity towards the Royal British Legion. The origins of that tradition are linked to the very strong historical bonds which Suffolk has had, and still maintains, with all three Services.

“Once again, in the Poppy Appeal of 2014, the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of atrocities which led to the most gruesome conflict in our nation’s history, our small county has excelled in its readiness to give to those who need our help.

“We need not hesitate in being proud of that readiness. To those who have given, I offer my sincerest thanks.”

Sandra Bromley, membership support officer at Suffolk RBL, said this year had seen more people coming forward to back the appeal.

“For example, we had one lady who sent us £90, which she raised by selling 74 poppies that she had crocheted,” Mrs Bromley said.

“There have been so many events organised for us as well, such as Hartismere School where the students made their own versions of the ceramic poppies at the Tower.

“In Brandon, veterans wearing their medals created a living shop window in the lead up to Remembrance Day.

“We’ve had so many donations from all walks of life and all age groups which is wonderful to see.”