Hitchin branch of the Royal British Legion thanks its volunteers – but needs a new town centre space to store its poppies

Hitchin Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal Organiser Mary Prowse with air cadet officers, a sea cadet

Hitchin Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal Organiser Mary Prowse with air cadet officers, a sea cadet petty officer and two sea cadets. - Credit: Archant

The Hitchin branch of the Royal British Legion held its annual ‘Thank You’ evening for poppy volunteers on Friday – this year’s collection has already topped £32,000 – but they still haven’t found new premises, and they’ve called for help storing their poppies in the town centre.

About 90 poppy volunteers attended the evening at St John’s Community Centre, with members of the town’s sea cadets, air cadets, fire brigade and town rangers in attendance and town centre manager Keith Hoskins as guest speaker.

Poppy Appeal organiser Mary Prowse said: “I welcomed everyone and thanked the volunteers for all their hard work, and updated them on Hitchin’s Poppy Appeal total as being £32,578.19. That’s up a lot from this time last year.

“Keith Hoskins then gave a very interesting talk how things have progressed in Hitchin since he became town centre manager, which everyone enjoyed, then everyone tackled a quiz set by our treasurer John Harrison.

“Shops were very generous – the raffle prizes were mainly donated by Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Wilko, Café Rouge, Mr H’s Café, Brookers, Wetherspoon and members of the branch.”

Mr Hoskins said: “It was very nice to see how many people help the Royal British Legion these days. Hopefully we’ll help to raise their profile so they can get a new storage space in town.”

The Hitchin branch of the legion left its former base at the Paynes Park Social Club in 2014 after the building was put up for sale.

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It secured a conference room at the Sun Hotel to work from, and free storage space with a company on the industrial estate in Wilbury Way, but Mary told the Comet a permanent space in the centre of town was urgently needed.

She said: “I don’t drive anymore, so it’s too far away now, and it’s something to do with the military so I need to ask permission every time I go there.

“It needs to be in Hitchin town centre and ground level if possible – I wouldn’t want to ask volunteers to go up the stairs. It needs to be the size of a large bedroom. We will pay rent if need be.”

If you think you may be able to help contact Mary Prowse on 07925 528988 or mary_george@btinternet.com.

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