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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 11:23 GMT 12:23 UK
Poppy appeal focuses on hardship
Poppy appeal
The need for help from the legion has grown among younger veterans
The Royal British Legion has launched a poster campaign highlighting the needs of injured troops, bereaved families and ageing veterans.

The annual poppy appeal is accompanied by posters showing ex-servicemen and bereaved families being supported by a human figure made from poppies.

The organisation hopes the posters will raise awareness and donations ahead of Remembrance Sunday on 11 November.

Its goal is to raise 27.5m this year, an increase of 1.5m from 2006.

Younger vets

With continuing British military commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Royal British Legion says its work is more vital than ever to the well-being of servicemen and women and their families.

It is helping a new generation of young veterans, and in the past year alone it has seen a 30% rise in the number of people under the age of 35 who have sought its help.

When I first heard about the legion, I thought it was going back to World War I veterans and I was quite surprised at the work that they do offer and support
Tina Thompson

One of the poppy appeal posters, which have already gone up across the UK, shows the poppy figure playing with two-year-old Aidan Thompson and his mother Tina, 36, on a beach.

Her husband Mick served in the Army for 17 years and was killed travelling to work at a British military base in Cyprus.

Mrs Thompson, of Stourbridge, in the West Midlands, was denied a full military pension because her husband was not on duty when the accident happened.

"When I first heard about the legion, I thought it was going back to World War I veterans and I was quite surprised at the work that they do offer and support.

"For instance, when I came back to England they helped decorate my house."

She added: "They are there and I do urge that people give for the poppy appeal."

Memory loss

Another poster shows former Royal Navy weapons engineer Allen Parton in his wheelchair.

Poppy facts
Each year the Poppy Appeal distributes around 36 million poppies, 100,000 wreaths and sprays and 750,000 "little remembrance crosses"
Poppy protocol - a poppy can be worn at any time but they are usually available two weeks before Remembrance Sunday
Politicians and broadcasters are provided with poppies in advance should they choose to wear them earlier

Mr Parton, 47, from Hampshire, suffered a head injury during the 1991 Gulf War, which caused him 50% memory loss and left him in hospital for five years.

His wife Sandra and their two children Liam and Zoe were evicted from naval married quarters, and the Royal British Legion helped them find somewhere to live.

"The British legion helped me buy my first wheelchair. They were absolutely essential in rebuilding my life," Mr Parton said.

A third poster depicts an elderly veteran sitting on a bench with a poppy figure next to him and the caption: "Remember 180,000 ex-service people without visitors."



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
A widow explains why she took part in the campaign



SEE ALSO
Mercians home after tour of duty
24 Oct 07 |  England
Poster campaign for forces' widow
22 Oct 07 |  West Midlands

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