Shoreham members re-new Poppy Appeal

Shoreham Royal British Poppy Appeal President Brian Pettett
Shoreham Royal British Poppy Appeal President Brian Pettett

It’s time to start again for volunteers who have raised a staggering £30,000 in 12 months.

The Shoreham branch of the Royal British Legion has launched this year’s Poppy Appeal, and hopes to match this year’s total.

Brian Pettett, president of the group, said they had raised just under £30,000 last year, and just over that figure this year.

“We are forever doing things to collect money,” he said. “It’s important because it is such a good organisation, and it does a good deal of good work.

“Anyone who is ill will get looked after, not just ex-servicemen but their wives as well.”

Brian has been a member for about 30 years, first turning up at the club in the early 80s, and joining the committee soon after.

“It made a big impression on me,” he said.

Brian served in Korea for just under two years in his late teens and early 20s.

“I am proud of what I did in the Army,” he told the Herald, adding he had joined up at 18.

Asked about his experiences during the Korean War, he said: “It was like being in a game show. I remember telling someone I was mortared once, but when I read my diaries back, I realised it was more like seven or eight times.”

The charity, he went on to say, did much more than many people realised, which was why the Poppy Appeal was so important,

About four years ago, he and wife Mary-Anne, who sadly died earlier this year, both spent time in hospital, and the legion sent them on an all-expenses recuperation break to Weston-Super-Mare.

“It was wonderful,” he said, “I would compare it to a five-star hotel. They also do a lot for the men who are coming back injured from Afghanistan. Not many people know how much they do, because they don’t advertise it.”

The club, in Buckingham Road, was a major part of the organisation’s appeal, he added.

“It’s great companionship. When Mary-Anne died, they all rallied round me and made sure I wasn’t lonely or down in the dumps.”

Anyone can join the club, which Brian was keen to point out offered “cheap beer”, and attend its many social and fund-raising events throughout the year.

For a membership form, or to volunteer as a Poppy Appeal collector, pop into the club.