Stevenage Poppy Appeal set to break fundraising record

More than £100,000 has already been collected for the Stevenage Poppy Appeal, which this year saw se

More than £100,000 has already been collected for the Stevenage Poppy Appeal, which this year saw services commemorating 100 years since the end of the First World War. Picture: Garry Wilkins - Credit: Gary Wilkins

The Stevenage Poppy Appeal is on track to set a new record when it comes to fundraising – having collected a jaw-dropping £115,500 in the first few weeks of its 2018/19 appeal.

This year’s Poppy Appeal started at the end of October and will run until the end of September 2019, and has already seen staggering generosity from people in Stevenage – coinciding with the centenary of the end of the First World War.

To date, £115,500 has been raised – over £11,000 more than was raised during the entire 2017/18 Stevenage Poppy Appeal.

One volunteer collected £9,000 in Westgate Shopping Centre over two weeks, and scouts collected more than £1,000 at a Remembrance Sunday service.

The annual fundraising figure has been steadily increasing since 2008, when it stood at about £45,000, and broke the £100,000 mark for the first time in 2014/15 – the centenary of the start of the First World War.

Major Keith Greenough, chairman of the Stevenage branch of the Royal British Legion and its Poppy Appeal organiser, called this year’s appeal so far “a great success”.

He said: “It is with enormous gratitude that I wish to respond to the many and varied efforts by so many in the community in achieving this staggering amount.

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“Certainly, we could not have done this alone and sincerely thank those groups, businesses and members of the public whose support has made it possible. From Stevenage Football Club to the women of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association, from numerous public houses to schools, shops and community groups – the list is humbling.

“Indeed, it would be remiss if I did not also use this opportunity to thank all of our volunteers for generously giving up so much free time during the Poppy Appeal.”

Further funds will be raised for the Stevenage Poppy Appeal at events throughout 2019, including Armed Forces Day on June 29 and collections at Cineworld on Stevenage Leisure Park. Keith said: “We don’t count our chickens before they are hatched, but we are hoping to set a new record.”

He added: “Should anyone be interested in joining the Royal British Legion, we meet on the first Thursday of each month at 7.30pm at the CIU Club in Stevenage Old Town.

“You may be surprised to learn that one does not need to have served in the armed forces to be a very welcome new member.”