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Poppy Appeal Launch 2009

24 October 2009

The biggest Poppy Appeal ever to take place at the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre.  The British Legion hold this event yearly, the service launching the Appeal takes place in the Hangar under Lancaster NX611 Just Jane. 

This year the Poppy Appeal Launch took place on Saturday 24th October.  Each year is keeps getting bigger and bigger and each year the record of money raised is broken and the bar set even higher.  In 2008-09 season the Royal British legion raised £560,000 which was £10k up on the previous record.  The target for this year is £620,000.  The Royal British Legion office in Lincolnshire is the second busiest in the Country.  This last year they dealt with 1,973 cases and gave out £950,491.  Over 60 Standards were present at this years appeal and we believe it also saw the biggest turn out yet with over 600 people turning out on a very wet gloomy day for the service. 


As with his forebears, the average age of the Regular, serving, military man is 19. He is a short haired, tight muscled young man who, under normal circumstances is considered by society as half man, half boy.   Not yet dry behind the ears, just old enough to buy a beer but old enough to die for his country.He went to an average Comprehensive school where he was an average student who pursued some form of sporting activity.   He now drives a ten year-old car and he has a steady girlfriend who either broke up with him when he left to go overseas or swears to be waiting for him when he returns from half a world away.   He listens to modern music and for rocket and rifle fire.  He can sleep in the back of a moving armoured personnel carrier.  He is 10 or 15 pounds lighter than when he was at home because he is working or fighting from before dawn to well after dusk.  He may have trouble spelling but he can strip a rifle in seconds and reassemble it in less time in the dark.   He can recite to you the parts that make up a machine gun or grenade launcher and he can use either with professional and ruthless efficiency.  He digs trenches and latrines and can apply first aid like a professional.   He can march until told to stop, or stop until told to march.   He obeys orders instantly and without question but he is not without spirit or individual dignity.   He is self-sufficient.   He has two sets of combat uniform; he wears one and washes the other.   He keeps his water bottle full and his feet dry.   He sometimes forgets to clean his teeth but never to clean his rifle.   He can cook his own meals, mend his own clothes and attend to his own injuries.   He fears only the IEDs, the improvised explosive devices.  If you’re thirsty he’ll share his water with you, if you are hungry, his food.   He’ll split his ammunition with you in the midst of battle when you run low.   He has learned to use his hands like weapons and weapons like they were his hands.   He can save your life, protect it, or take it – because that is his job.   He is unselfish and proud.  He will often do twice the work of those in other professions, draw half the and still find ironic humour in it all.   He has seen more suffering and death than he should have in his short lifetime.   He has wept in public and in private for friends who have died in combat and is unashamed.   He feels every note of the National Anthem vibrate through his body while rigidly standing to attention, tempering the burning desire to ‘square away’ those around him who haven’t bothered to stand, remove their hat or even stop talking.   In an odd twist, day in day out and far from home he defends their right to be disrespectful.  Just as his father and grandfather did, he is paying the price for our freedom.  Beardless or not, he is not a boy.   He is a British fighting man that has kept his country free for generations.   He has asked nothing in return except our friendship and understanding.   Remember him, always, for he has earned our respect and admiration with his blood.   And we have women, too, over there in danger playing their part in this tradition of going to war when our nation calls us to do so.   God bless them and their families for the selfless acts they all perform for us in our time of need.

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