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Lack of poppies fear for town

AN URGENT search has begun for a helper to ensure poppies are on sale in Bognor Regis this year.


The Remembrance Day symbol could be missing from much of the town if the current vacancy for a Poppy Appeal volunteer organiser remains unfilled.


Polly Bate, the Royal British Legion’s community fundraiser for West Sussex, said the absence of the familiar red flowers would be a blow in the centenary year of the end of the First World War.


“This year is such an important year for us that we really want poppies to be on sale again in Bognor Regis,” she said.


“We raised £14,000 from the Poppy Appeal in Bognor Regis last year and £18,000 the year before.


“The amount does go up and down but it’s always been at least £10,000 that I know of.


“Without the volunteer organiser, Bognor Regis will be the largest town in West Sussex without the Poppy Appeal this year. There are three other small gaps but nothing the size of Bognor Regis.”


The most recent organiser was unable to contine, said Ms Bate. A deputy was in place to help out but someone was needed to spearhead the town’s efforts for the annual Poppy Appeal.


“November 11 does seem a long way ahead but planning for the appeal really starts in September and so it will be good to have a person in place before then.


“It will be here before we know it. They need to have a bit of time because it can get quite busy through to November 11.


“The support we get across the entire country, especially with the centenary of the First World War, is phenomenal, and we don’t want to let down people in Bognor Regis who want to back us.”


The lack of an organiser would see Ms Bates take charge of the town’s Poppy Appeal but she warned it would be a token coverage instead of the usual comprehensive network of collection boxes in a wide range of locations.


The successful applicant would work with Ms Bate to agree a set of actions to ensure the appeal was as successful as possible, recruit and brief enough collectors to ensure good coverage and order, store, distribute and collect enough poppies and collecting trays and tins to meet the demand.


They would also have to account for all the money raised and publicise the appeal.


It is suggested the individual would have empathy with the armed forces, have experience of planning and co-ordinating materials and people and be confident in dealing with money.


Ms Bate said: “The volunteer organiser manages the logistics of the Poppy Appeal.


“Without that network of poppy outlets and helpers, we would not be able to do what we do to support servicemen and women who need us.


“(The person chosen) will be part of a friendly, committed team of people and have the chance to draw on your experience and skills or acquire new ones.


“Should you need it, this will give you valuable experience for future roles, whether as an employee or volunteer.”


More information from Ms Bate at:

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