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“I see it as a way to give back to society” Royal British Legion members on why they volunteer

PUBLISHED: 16:13 06 November 2018

Rosalie Samaroo who has been a volunteer for the British Legion for 10 years. Picture: Staff

Rosalie Samaroo who has been a volunteer for the British Legion for 10 years. Picture: Staff

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Every November an army of Royal British Legion volunteers give up their time to sell poppies across Norfolk, raising thousands for charity and making sure the memories of those who have represented the British armed forces are not forgotten.

Cromer mayor David Pritchard, who has been a Poppy Appeal collector for 15 years.
Photo: DAVID PRITCHARDCromer mayor David Pritchard, who has been a Poppy Appeal collector for 15 years. Photo: DAVID PRITCHARD

This year, to mark the centenary of the end of the First World War, the RBL is encouraging people to wear a poppy and say ‘thank you’ to the entire First World War generation and has set itself its highest ever fundraising target of £50m.

One of the volunteers helping the charity to achieve its goal is Rosalie Samaroo, 78 from Taverham, who has been a volunteering for the RBL for 10 years.

She said: “I like what the RBL do and I think they’re absolutely amazing. They do a fabulous job and it’s a pleasure to do and to know that you’re helping in some way.”

Sidney Hart, 66, from Loddon, who volunteers in the Great Yarmouth poppy shop, said: “I joined the RBL seven years ago as my grandfather and great grandfather fought in the First World War and my father fought in the Second World War. It is important that we recognise what people did for the country. I see it as a way to give back to society and remember those who sacrificed so much.”

Sidney Hart, 66, from Loddon who volunteers in the Great Yarmouth poppy shop. Picture; StaffSidney Hart, 66, from Loddon who volunteers in the Great Yarmouth poppy shop. Picture; Staff

On this year’s centenary, he added: “It should hold extra significance and be an educational marker for the younger generation. “It makes you appreciate just what people did for the country and how different things could have been without their efforts.”

David Pritchard, mayor of Cromer, who will be unveiling the town’s newly-restored war memorial on November 10, decided to become a Poppy Appeal collector 15 years ago after watching a documentary about the treatment of British prisoners in the Second World War.

“It really struck a chord with me as although my father wasn’t a prisoner of war, he served in India with the RAF during the war,” he explained.

Mr Pritchard, who co-ordinates a team of around 40 Poppy Appeal volunteers, added: “It is surprising the enormous difference people can make just giving up an hour of their time,

“All the money goes to supporting our ex-service personnel, which is something I think, as a country, we could be better at.”

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