People gave more generously than ever before to this year’s Poppy Appeal on the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
Royal British Legion branches across the area were overwhelmed with the money handed over by schools, clubs, businesses and individuals.
In Stamford, the Legion has so far raised a total of £40,701, with more donations expected. Supermarket collections contributed a significant amount, with Morrisons raising £9,946, Waitrose raising £6,587 and Sainsbury’s handing over £5,793.
Help also came from volunteers manning the branch mobile display unit in various locations, the Military Dog Unit, the Air Training Cadets, the Army Cadet Force and leaders from both cadet units.
The Legion gave out certificates of thanks at a special “poppy party” at the Borderville Sports Centre, pictured, on Wednesday last week. Appeal organiser Jim Jackson said: “My very grateful thanks once again to the people of Stamford and surrounding villages who gave so generously. This year’s appeal at the moment is £1,300 more than last year.”
In Oakham people donated £17,400, again with some money still to come in. Chairman David Smith said: “This is probably the highest sum ever raised by the branch and signifies an increase on 2013 of an amazing 13 per cent; possibly enough to make us the most generous county in the land.
“Of course, behind the generosity lies a great deal of hard work and I should also like to thank the committee members, members of the local cadet forces and the door-to-door collectors for their enthusiasm and dedication. Without their labours, the above sum would be much less.”
Uppingham’s year was equally record-breaking, with £6,641 raised. Appeal organiser Andrew Griffin said: “It is entirely due to the great effort put in by the collectors; Uppingham School, who raised no less than 26 per cent of the total; and to the businesses and schools who support collecting on their premises.
“I would like to thank all those who helped to collect, as well as those who gave so generously. As ever, it is getting increasingly difficult to recruit collectors, so any volunteers will be welcomed with open arms.”
In Bourne the final amount raised was £19,246, up 15 per cent on the previous year. Branch secretary Jake Jacobs thanked all who had taken part.
Many of the villages in the Mercury area also had record years for donations. In Caldecott a total of £515 was collected. Organiser Marion Graveson was delighted with the amount and thanked her team of door-to-door collectors, Pauline Graveson, Heather and Miles Ingram, Wendy Towson, Anthea Hill and June Gower, and Debbie and Gene of The Plough, whose efforts along with the church collection made the amount raised in the village the highest so far.
And in Gretton and Harringworth a record total of £2,207 was collected. Resident Jerry Lunt said: “This is indeed a wonderful sum to support the caring work the Legion does for ex-servicemen and women. Thank you for your generosity to support this year’s Poppy Appeal.
“Also grateful thanks to everyone who helped with the door-to-door poppy sales in Gretton and Harringworth. Once again Rob Clarke organised this year’s appeal and I wish to thank him for his hard work, dedication and sterling service.”