Harborough's Poppy Appeal gets off to a cracking start despite Covid-19 restrictions

Young support...Molly Leeder 10 and Ruby Houston 9 help out on the Royal British Legion stall.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTERYoung support...Molly Leeder 10 and Ruby Houston 9 help out on the Royal British Legion stall.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Young support...Molly Leeder 10 and Ruby Houston 9 help out on the Royal British Legion stall. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
People were so keen to get their hands on a poppy that they were queueing up to get one

This year’s iconic Poppy Appeal has got off to a cracking start in Market Harborough – despite being forced to drastically slim down by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Royal British Legion (RBL) opened a stall at the town’s busy Indoor Market last Friday (October 23).

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And people were so keen to get their hands on a poppy that they were queueing up to get one.

Team effort...Pat Middleton, Stewart Harrison and Kathy Morley manning the Poppy Appeal stall.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTERTeam effort...Pat Middleton, Stewart Harrison and Kathy Morley manning the Poppy Appeal stall.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Team effort...Pat Middleton, Stewart Harrison and Kathy Morley manning the Poppy Appeal stall. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Thrilled Stewart Harrison, 73, chairman of Market Harborough’s branch of the RBL, said: “The response was absolutely phenomenal.

“We were overwhelmed by how many people wanted to buy a poppy.

“It was so humbling, totally astonishing.”

The RAF and Army veteran added: “We already know that the people of Market Harborough and our area are amazingly generous and so supportive of our great cause.

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Poppy Appeal launch...Kathy Morley, Molly Leeder 10, Ruby Houston 9 and Stewart Harrison at Harborough indoor market on Saturday.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTERPoppy Appeal launch...Kathy Morley, Molly Leeder 10, Ruby Houston 9 and Stewart Harrison at Harborough indoor market on Saturday.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
Poppy Appeal launch...Kathy Morley, Molly Leeder 10, Ruby Houston 9 and Stewart Harrison at Harborough indoor market on Saturday. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

“But even they have out done themselves over the last few days.

People were giving us £50 or £60 at a time!

“Metal poppies, especially, are going down a storm.

“We must have raised £1,200 in two days – it’s simply unbelievable.”

The Market Harborough poppy appeal stall at the indoor market.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTERThe Market Harborough poppy appeal stall at the indoor market.
PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER
The Market Harborough poppy appeal stall at the indoor market. PICTURE: ANDREW CARPENTER

Stewart, of Naseby Square, Market Harborough, said their stall will be open at the market from Tuesday to Saturday this week and from Tuesday November 3 to Saturday November 7 next week.

“Poppies are also being sold to support the Royal British Legion at Sainsbury’s Waitrose and the Co-op supermarkets in town.

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“People are actually being even more than generous than usual because they realise that it’s such a tough time for us all this year with the pandemic still going on.

“We cannot stage any street collections or have volunteers go door to door as usual this year,” said the proud former serviceman.

“And, usually, many more shops and businesses would be selling our poppies and other items throughout Market Harborough.

“So we are not going to match the amount we raised here last year – a tremendous £34,000.

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“But every penny counts as we continue to support and get behind the many former service people and their families who need our help day in day out all year round.”

Stewart is appealing to people to hold a minute’s silence on their doorsteps at 11am on Sunday November 8 and Wednesday November 11.

“Unfortunately but understandably we are obviously not staging any public services at our war memorial on The Square in Market Harborough this November as we would do normally.

“So I would ask people not to go along and turn up because there won’t be anything happening officially that they can attend,” he said.

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“But please show your respect for the fallen of both world wars and all of our other conflicts by observing a minute’s silence on your doorsteps.

“We owe the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives for our country – as well as all of those who served – all of our thanks and our undying gratitude for keeping us safe and keeping us free.”

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