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Why the 2020 Poppy Appeal needs your support

In a year when every poppy counts, here’s how you can mark Armistice Day

By Jo Dunbar

Each November we approach Armistice Day on November 11th with the phrase ‘Lest we forget’ in our minds. But 2020 presents us with challenges when it comes to commemorating the war dead and wounded the way we traditionally choose to. With Covid posing a risk to the health of poppy sellers – traditionally older people – and footfall on our high streets and in our shopping centres at an all-time low, how best to find yourself a poppy and donate to the Royal British Legion?

With socially distanced tea parties and bunting hanging from our houses, we acknowledged the 75thanniversary of VE Day in May – but the date had a lower profile thanks to Covid. Remembrance Sunday, which falls on 8th November this year, runs the risk of having far less impact than usual – which would be a blow for the service and ex-service personnel who depend on the charity’s support during hardships, injuries and bereavements.

It comes as no surprise that the Royal British Legion is another charity which has felt the effects of the pandemic. The Legion’s Area Manager for the North, Nicola Meredith explains, “The Covid-19 pandemic has had an overwhelming impact on people’s livelihoods and way of life, leaving some in the Armed Forces community in dire need of urgent help and support. The Legion’s work is more vital than ever as we support our community through additional hardships from those struggling with social isolation, financial difficulties and unemployment, to those who have lost loved ones or are facing the threat of homelessness. Every poppy counts.”

So, if going out to browse the shops and pick up poppies while you’re out is no longer on your agenda, how do you show support? Louise Price who is the Royal British Legion’s Community Fundraiser for Northumberland and Teesside says, “Like so many things this year, the Appeal has to adapt to the threat of Covid-19. People may have to do something different to support the Poppy Appeal this year, including taking part in remote activity like ordering poppies through the post for your neighbours, printing a poppy and displaying it in your window, or undertaking a virtual Poppy Run.” Fundraising ideas can be found here.

And if you do happen to be in a supermarket, Louise says you might find poppies there: “Through our collectors and partner organisations, we have been able to distribute poppies in our major supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Asda.”

Whatever you choose to do, whether it’s buying poppies online, observing two minutes’ silence or taking part in a remote Remembrance activity, what matters is we don’t forget.

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