Gorleston man at heart of the Legion’s Poppy Weekend

A GORLESTON man is at the heart of nationwide efforts to celebrate 90 years of the Royal British Legion.

In recent months Bruno Peek has been busily co-ordinating the Great Poppy Party Weekend, a fundraiser that will see thousands of parties across the UK from next Friday to Sunday.

And having planned the event for more than two years, over the weekend Bruno will be popping over to Downing Street before taking in the atmosphere around the borough as others follow his lead and celebrate the work of the charity.

Bruno, who was made an OBE and organised the lighting of the beacons for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, said: “When I realised the legion was soon to be having its 90th anniversary I came up with the idea, took it to them and said ‘how about it’?

“They assist the members of the armed forces and their families, which is just so important because if they come back injured or are killed there’s this organisation that will help them.”

Bruno, who oversaw the Millennium Flame project, also marked the organisation’s 75th anniversary with a huge chain of poppies from Cromer to Yarmouth.

However, this time he will be heading to meet David Cameron, with Number 10 having its own Poppy Party next Friday.

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He will be joined by Lowestoft schoolgirl Emily Takman. Emily has become the face of the legion’s 90th anniversary, appearing on brochures.

He said: “I felt it would be nice to invite the prime minister to take part, and I’m just looking forward to taking young Emily with me.”

Around the Yarmouth area, there will be a range of events, with everything from private parties to a spectacular at Potters Leisure Resort, as well as a charity ball at Yarmouth Racecourse next Saturday night.

Additionally, Yarmouth’s MP Brandon Lewis will be holding a party in the town’s Market Place from 10am until noon on the same day.

And though a huge range of events will be going on to raise money, all will be united on Sunday, June 12 at 4pm when nationally people are being asked to raise a glass in a toast to the charity.

One of those also getting involved is Malcolm Lake, who has organised a sponsored riverside walk that starts at 12.30pm on the village green at Stokesby on Sunday, June 12.

He said he hoped blue skies would bring a lot of walkers and added: “The Royal British Legion does a won-derful job, and with-out them we wouldn’t be where we are today. If we can’t look after them who can we look after?”

To find out more or to organise your own fundraising party, visit www.thegreatpoppyparty weekend.org.uk

Yesterday it was announced that Bruno, a pageantmaster, will also be responsible for organising the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee beacons.

To mark the celebrations, which run from June 2 to June 5 next year, he will oversee 2,012 beacons being lit across the country.

The news of Bruno being chosen as beacon master follows on from him performing the same role in 2002, for which he was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order.