Blow for Poppy Appeal as it faces cut-backs

The Royal British Legion has warned it will have ‘a profound effect’ in Royal Tunbridge Wells, a town that has ‘proudly supported’ the Armed Forces community over the years.

The Legion has been unable to recruit a new organiser for this year’s event following the retirement of the previous incumbent.

Through the appeal the charity is able to help improve the lives of former servicemen and servicewomen. This can include financial, emotional and social support

More than £48,000 was raised in the borough in 2017 which made it a record-breaking Poppy Appeal for Tunbridge Wells.

Despite appeals in local media including the Times, no volunteers have come forward, so many of the arrangements will be changing this year – and some will not happen.

Duties include ordering stock, managing volunteers to assist with distribution and collection to schools and businesses, and organising counting and banking.

John Cohen, who currently chairs the town’s branch, said: “Sadly without an organiser for the town it will only be possible to operate reduced arrangements, which will mean a smaller Poppy Appeal presence.”

Jane Ayers, Community Fundraiser for West Kent’s appeal, added: “It will undoubtedly have a profound effect on the people of Tunbridge Wells because they have proudly supported our Armed Forces community for many years.

“It will also mean less support to help fund the life-changing work of the Legion, which is used to ensure equal rights for Armed Forces personnel, to keep families together, to help individuals deal with the impact of life-changing injuries and experiences, to fund specialist dementia care and to get people back into work.”

Royal Victoria Place will remain a key location for the appeal thanks to the efforts of the Legion’s former Tunbridge Wells chairman Gary Faulkner.

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