The following column appeared in the Barnsley Chronicle published 16 October 2015.
Last Saturday I was with Mayor Brian Mathers at Oakwell to help launch this year’s Poppy Appeal with the Royal British Legion (RBL). Thanks to Barnsley FC, we went on the pitch at half time with veterans and cadets – and we got a great reception from the crowd.
Last year was a record year for donations to the RBL across Barnsley. Even in tough economic times, the generosity of our people knows no bounds.
The Poppy Appeal was originally created to help those returning from the First World War. A century on, the Poppy Appeal still helps veterans and their families in much the same way – whether coping with bereavement, living with disability, or finding employment. Their work today has never been more relevant.
Every Remembrance Sunday, I support a different local branch of the Legion. Last year I was in Grimethorpe. Previously I’ve been in Wombwell and Hoyland. This year I’ll be in Darfield. Barnsley folk always turn out in large numbers.
Sadly, despite the fantastic commitment of so many volunteers, some of our local RBL branches have struggled in recent times and some have even had to close. Many stalwarts of the Legion – some of whom served in the Second World War – have passed away in recent years.
That’s why as well as buying a poppy and putting money in the collection box – as important as that is – it would be great if more people would consider joining the Legion here in Barnsley. Most people don’t realise, but anyone can become a member. You don’t have to have served in the Armed Forces.
Membership costs £16 a year. If you can afford it, why not go on the Royal British Legion website or call 0808 802 8080 and join today?