VETERANS, dignitaries and serving military personnel gathered in Lydney last week to mark the launch of the town’s Poppy Appeal. 

The annual appeal, which raises funds to help veterans and their families while remembering those who’ve lost their lives in the line of duty, began last Thursday (October 26)  at an event also attended by national Royal British Legion (RBL) leaders, local supporters and members of the Lydney and District branch.

The launch saw Lydney’s Town Crier Tim Enbom read a proclamation outside 3 Hill Street, where the branch has been based since 1924, before Lydney RBL Chair Lynn Daszko declared the town’s Poppy Appeal open.

In attendance were Gloucestershire Group Captain Anny Reed, a national Royal British Legion Trustee; Lydney Mayor Natasha Saunders and Town Councillor Carol Harris; RBL Community Fundraiser Manager Nicole Mayall; Gloucestershire Poppy Appeal Manager Sarah Mills; Falklands veteran with the Royal Naval Association Steve Gardiner; representatives of the Glosters regiment; and Lydney Vicar David Gardiner, amongst others.

Town Crier Tim Enbom said in his proclamation: “Please everyone remember that the freedom we have today was bravely given to us all by our superb armed forces in two world wars, and during numerous conflicts, since then. 

“They gave the ultimate sacrifice of their lives or have been seriously maimed, physically or mentally.  

“The Poppy Appeal allows the Royal British Legion to help and assist these service personnel, veterans and their families in a small way. Your help is greatly needed, so where you can please give generously. Thank you. Lest we forget. God save the King.”

Lynn said: “I’d like to thank you all for coming. I’d like to give you a great big welcome to this year’s Poppy Appeal launch. Thank you all for the work that you do and will do in the future.” 

The union flag was then raised to full-mast to mark the launch, which was greeted with a round of applause from attendees.

Lynn concluded by presenting a special gift pin to Lydney Mayor Natasha Saunders for all her hard work in helping to organise remembrance events for the town.

Cllr Saunders said: “We’re really honoured to be a part of the launch here today, we’ve been working very closely with the British Legion to ensure that Lydney supports Remembrance Day and the Poppy Appeal. 

“As it’s a civic event the parade is organised by the council, but we could not do it without the support and guidance of the British Legion and the church - it’s a multi-agency effort.

“Lynn is absolutely amazing, she helps keep the whole thing ‘ship shape’ and in order.”

In addition to the Remembrance Sunday parade, Lydney Town Councillor Carol Harris will be handing over a wreath of poppies at Lydney Railway Station on November 10 to be transported to London as part of the annual Poppies to Paddington campaign. 

The event is led by The Veterans Charity and sees Great Western Railway train services collect wreaths from more than 60 stations to transport to the capital in time for the Remembrance Day service. 

Following this year’s Poppy Appeal, Lydney RBL will set about organising events for its centenary celebrations next year.