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Wednesday, October 29, 1997 Published at 14:32 GMT


Spice Girls launch poppy appeal

The Spice Girls: Aiming to change the image of the poppy appeal

The Spice Girls have launched this year's Remembrance Day poppy appeal, in a change of tack by the organisers, the Royal British Legion.

The Legion hopes the Spice Girls will encourage more young people to buy a poppy

Sharing a podium with armed forces' sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn, the five pop stars read a joint appeal to remember those who died at war.

Ginger Spice, Geri Haliwell, began: "War affects everyone especially the young like in the Falklands and Bosnia today so as the next generation this is our future so it's our responsibility to get involved."

Sporty Mel Chisholm continued: "Millions of people died so that we could be free."

[ image: Mel B:
Mel B: "A time to remember"
Scary Mel Brown said: "And it's time to remember and say thanks because many people paid a very high price for freedom and we must never forget them."

Posh Victoria Adams added: "So please remember to buy your poppies."

And Baby Emma Bunting wrapped it up: "And we need you all to participate in the two-minute silence on the 11th hour of the 11th of November, please remember and say thank you."

They then joined together and read the poem "The Fallen" by Lawrence Binyan.

Photographers stopped taking pictures as they read: "They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old. Age shall not weary them nor the years condemn.

"At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them."

A Legion official said the involvement of the Spice Girls represent a change of tack for the charity.

"We are specifically targeting young people this year."

"We would like to see many, many more young people wearing poppies. We know they support what we do."

Polls said 90% of young people backed the reintroduction of the two-minute silence on Armistice Day.

The Legion said it is courting the young because the appeal no longer covers its costs.

Although it raised £16.2m in the 1996 poppy appeal, the Legion spent £27m during the year and need to increase revenue.

"We hope we might be able to achieve that by harnessing the support of the younger generation."

As one of the most popular British pop groups, the Legion hopes the Spice Girls will help it achieve this.

But the band's commercial approach has provoked accusations that the Legion is devaluing the poppy appeal.

The Spice Girls, who release their second album next week, have signed numerous advertising and promotion deals since becoming famous two years ago.

A survey found that two-thirds of people in Britain believe the group are over-exposed, even their younger fans.

The poppy appeal coincided with a fresh Spice blitz in shops.

More than 100 different goods including stationery, toys, badges, bags, photo albums and jigsaw puzzles have gone on sale in time for Christmas.


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