Poppy Appeal ‘panic’ as branch is at risk

David Laker, president of Royal British Legion's Littlehampton branch
David Laker, president of Royal British Legion's Littlehampton branch

PRESIDENT of Littlehampton’s Royal British Legion said he is ‘desperate’ for volunteers as the branch falls under risk of closure.

David Laker has been a member of the Royal British Legion for more than 20 years and is passionate about raising funds for the town’s Poppy Appeal each autumn.

But after former secretary Tom Harrison died earlier this month, David said he is in a ‘panic’ to find a new volunteer otherwise the local Poppy Appeal could be cancelled and Littlehampton could lose its branch altogether.

The 81-year-old said: “For three years it has just been the secretary and myself, but now I’ve been told we could be placed under the wing of another branch and there’s only a couple of weeks left until the Poppy Appeal.

“We’re starting to get desperate. We need someone who can run the appeal.”

Each year Littehampton’s branch manages to raise more than £10,000 for the charity that supports the whole Armed Forces community through welfare, comradeship and representation.

“It’s really important to me, there are people out there who need the money,” David continued.

A person must be a member of the Royal British Legion to step up to the plate of secretary and help with the day-to-day runnings.

“We’re not a very big branch and therefore we don’t get members coming forward very often,” he said.

The Poppy Appeal will run from October 23 to November 11 2014 and will mark World War One’s 100th year.

In 2013 the Poppy Appeal managed to raise £39 million nationwide.

“We go around all the pubs and shops in the town. The Army Cadet Force go to Lidl and we have others that target Morrisons and the Co-Operative.

“We just need someone to store a few poppies and help put them out for us.

“I’m beginning to panic now,” he added.

The Littlehampton Gazette approached the Royal British Legion for comment but did not receive a response in time before going to print.

If you are a member of the Royal British Legion and would like to join the Littlehampton branch or just volunteer for this year’s Poppy Appeal, call David on 01903 724545.