Cambridgeshire poppy appeal launched

CAMBRIDGESHIRE launched its 2010 Poppy Appeal on Friday in conjunction with a pass out parade of soldiers from Bassingbourn Barracks.

The parade signalled the end of the first year Royal Engineer, Royal Mechanical and Mechanical Engineer training for 50 soldiers of Rowcroft company, and was watched by 500 friends and family.

Following the parade soldiers and volunteers gathered to show their support for the appeal, which is aiming to better the �331,338 raised in the county last year, including Lt Craig Shephard, who was awarded the Military Cross for his action in Afghanistan.

Adele Richmond, community fundraiser for the poppy appeal, said: “This year there happened to be a pass out parade at the same time as the Poppy Appeal launch by the British Legion, so it was very kind for Bassingbourn to let us hold it here.

“The Royal British Legion is the leading UK charity that provides direct, practical support for our injured heroes and bereaved armed forces families.”

The parade also featured a jump by the Red Devils, and music from the band of the Brigade of Gurkhas.

Mrs Richmond stressed the importance of the Poppy Appeal to the modern generation of soldiers, who are retuning from Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Over 10,000 service personal have been given financial help by the legion since returning from current conflicts.

“We are focusing very much on the Afghanistan generation for the poppy appeal, and want to make sure we’re here not just for today but for years to come.

“Many people have been seriously injured and lost their lives having returned from current conflicts. Families will need help too, so this is vitally important,” she said.

Despite the harsh economic times, Mrs Richmond is confident that the Poppy Appeal is still important to the British public, and will be well supported.

“People are still very concerned about supporting troops. All the publicity the conflict in Afghanistan has attracted means people know the armed forced need the help of people with the poppy appeal. Most people I know are very passionate.”