Remembrance Day: Elm Park British Legion set to smash last year’s fundraising total

Mark Straker, 16, Sevim Wigzell, 17, Mark-Anthony Bautista, 17, and Vijay Persaud, 18, fundraising f

Mark Straker, 16, Sevim Wigzell, 17, Mark-Anthony Bautista, 17, and Vijay Persaud, 18, fundraising for the Elm Park Royal British Legion at the Tesco store in Airfield Way, Hornchurch - Credit: Archant

The Poppy Appeal is well under way for the Elm Park Royal British Legion – with members hoping to smash last year’s total.

Mark Straker, 16, Sevim Wigzell, 17, Mark-Anthony Bautista, 17, and Vijay Persaud, 18, fundraising f

Mark Straker, 16, Sevim Wigzell, 17, Mark-Anthony Bautista, 17, and Vijay Persaud, 18, fundraising for the Elm Park Royal British Legion at the Tesco store in Airfield Way, Hornchurch - Credit: Archant

Volunteers raised £23,359 between November 2013 and the end of September 2014 and expect to exceed that.

Cllr Stephanie Nunn said: “People locally are quite generous. This all got started after the First World War and now there have been so many modern conflicts, people are so aware. The poppy is such a recognisable symbol.”

The legion’s chairman Cllr Barry Mugglestone joined Cllr Nunn and other branch members at Tesco in Airfield Way, Hornchurch, last week to sell poppies.

Public services students from Barking and Dagenham College also gave up their half-term holiday to help with the fundraising.

Korean War veteran John Marshall at the Tesco supermarket in Airfield Way, Hornchurch

Korean War veteran John Marshall at the Tesco supermarket in Airfield Way, Hornchurch - Credit: Archant


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The course is designed for young people who hope to join the police, fire service, ambulance service or the Armed Forces.

Vijay Persaud, 18, who hopes to join the RAF, said: “I wanted to help out because it is a good cause and you know it is going to people who have sacrificed so much to keep this country safe.”

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Veteran John Marshall, 82, is a committee member for the Legion and has been involved with the charity for two years.

He said: “I was in the Korean War for a short while. I did my bit for King and country.

“I was trained as a senior officer’s car driver. We were the same as the others – we just didn’t have the actual action.”

John was involved in the conflict for about three months, but his “bad feet” meant he served mostly in Europe. He went to Germany after leaving Korea.

The veteran believes it is important to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War this year.

He said: “I’m very keen on remembering the First World War – I go to the Somme and Flanders regularly. I take cross poppies with me and plant them in the proper places.”

Linda Reynolds, the deputy Poppy Appeal organiser for Elm Park, has been involved with the branch for 20 years.

She said: “People think it’s just a couple of weeks, but we fundraise all year round. We have volunteers like Betty King, who has been doing this for years and is in her 80s.

“The appeal is hard work but it is all worthwhile. It is a cause close to my heart.”

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