When I first undertook the position of Poppy Appeal organiser for my home town of Spalding the obvious target to set for myself was £1 per member of the population of the town.
This is stated by South Holland District Council in 2013 as being 28,722. Back in 2009/10 we managed to raise £19,793.4 with £25,343.16 in 2010/11, £25,734.07 in 2011/12, £22,102 in 2012/13 and finally £24,200 to September 30 this year.
The results appear to follow the general economic trends for those periods and are certainly, for the lower years, not indicative of the effort put in by most of the RBL members or our stalwart volunteers. In short the target has remained the impossible dream – until now that is!
My annual plea for assistance was met with considerable enthusiasm by the public in general and by other charitable organisations. The logistical nightmare involved in the distribution of supplies and collecting cans was achieved by the district’s very own heroes in just one day.
They were: Liz Hammond and her mum, ably assisted by the RBL Chairman Colin Jackman, Mr and Mrs McLean, Mr and Mrs Newton, Mr and Mrs Browning, Mr and Mrs Nell, Nigel Wallis of Baytree and finally the four teams from Bakkavor led by Jenny Hewitt and Steve Scholes.
Let us not forget that they also then had to reverse the process and bring them all back in again.
The regular volunteers collecting at Sainsbury’s, Springfields and Baytree were augmented by the following new faces: Pam Stanley, Claire and Simon Pick, Paul Winn, Francesca Riccomimi, Mary Lane, Wendy Spiller, Mike Verney and several members of the South Holland Rotarians capably coordinated by Tony Rowlett. This enabled us to provide a more complete presence at all venues and maximise collection potential.
Extra donations have been received from the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society, Baytree pumpkin sale, money from Mr R Hancox of Woolhall Farm and reindeer carrot sale money from the Biehler family.
The RBL introduced a ‘Kids Pack’ to the range of Poppy items and I’m sure many parents will have been persuaded by their offspring to advance their pocket money when they appeared in the schools. Needless to say they have proved extremely popular, with some schools requiring re-supply twice. These packs are still available and can be supplied to establishments and businesses dealing with children if requested.
Add this year being the centennial anniversary of the commencement of the First World War to the circumstances above and we are ripe for a magnificent outcome to the Poppy Appeal in the Spalding RBL district.
It therefore gives me the greatest of pleasure and pride to congratulate Spalding, Weston, Weston Hills and Cowbit contributors to the appeal on amalgamating £27,247.09 to date with a further pledge of £1,900 yet to come. This year, I believe, would have provided a higher than usual total by virtue of it being the commemoration of the beginning of the First World War, however the emergence of our ‘local heroes’ and the overall willingness of people to pitch in and help has supplied the appeal with a tremendous result in which everyone can be justifiably proud. Thank you one and all, “you done good!”... and I need to set a new target!