How the Poppy Ap­peal be­gan in Spain

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - Social Scene -

By Pamela Daw­son Tasker BEM THE FIRST cou­ple of col­lect­ing boxes and pop­pies boxes went out for my first Poppy Ap­peal about 1980

Just a cou­ple of years pre­vi­ously, Ma­jor John Lam­bie had brought in to Spain the first poppy col­lec­tion boxes and pop­pies and with the co­op­er­a­tion of George Outh­waite sr., Bri­tish vice con­sul in Ali­cante, the Poppy Ap­peal Spain was in­tro­duced.

The first PACs poppy col­lec­tors cov­ered their own area of the Costa Blanca. The first meeting of PACs (which in­cluded Olive Bat­tye, whom I first met in Benidorm as she walked from bar to bar with a shop­ping trol­ley full of poppy boxes) was held in my house in Calpe. This was to in­tro­duce ev­ery­body and de­cide on in­di­vid­ual bound­aries.

The first branches of the Le­gion in Spain ap­peared a few years later and we PAOs were en­cour­aged to ap­proach any branch close to our area to re­quest as­sis­tance with the dis­tri­bu­tion of poppy col­lect­ing boxes. I was as­sist­ing Dul­cie Mur­phy in Calpe in those days, later to take over from her and to work with Calpe branch.

Ma­jor Lam­bie, af­ter the first PA co­or­di­na­tor, Robin Guy re­signed, asked me to take over the post of Poppy Ap­peal co­or­di­na­tor for DN Spain - a po­si­tion I held for some years. The year be­fore I took over the Poppy Ap­peal, the re­sult for Spain was one mil­lion pe­se­tas (€6,000) and now some years later it has reached €170,000!

How the Poppy Ap­peal has grown is all down to hard­work­ing vol­un­teers, the Le­gion Spain branches and the res­i­dent com­mu­nity here on the Costa Blanca.

£1.7 MIL­LION A WEEK is the amount of money The Royal Bri­tish Le­gion (TRBL) spends on pro­vid­ing sup­port to those who have served or are cur­rently serv­ing in the Armed Forces and their de­pen­dants.

Yes, ev­ery week this amount pro­vides prac­ti­cal care, ad­vice and sup­port to those who need it. Among the sev­eral mil­lion el­i­gi­ble to re­ceive it, 25% of those who re­ceive Le­gion help are be­low the age of 44, which in­cludes all our re­turn­ing he­roes.

Where does this money come from? From do­na­tions and lega­cies, events, lot­ter­ies and trad­ing, care home fees, grants, mem­ber­ship subs, in­vest­ment in­come and, of course The Poppy Ap­peal.

The Poppy Ap­peal is where we, the ex­pa­tri­ate res­i­dents here in Spain, can do our bit. 50% of the to­tal raised last year was spent on wel­fare alone and that in­cludes those in need among us here in Spain.

Poppy Ap­peal money raised in Spain is spent on wel­fare here and any sur­plus is re­turned to the Benev­o­lent Fund in UK.

From mid-Oc­to­ber, the pop­pies will be bloom­ing some­where near you, in clubs, bars, meeting places, se­niors’ re­sorts, Ali­cante air­port – wher­ever a box is ac­cepted.

“If you would like to hold your own event to raise funds for TRBL, Poppy Ap­peal, please con­tact Poppy Ap­peal co­or­di­na­tor Robin Har­grave – spainnorth.pao@rbl.com­mu­nity who will pro­vide de­tails of where to send your do­na­tion. So whether it’s a gar­den party, hog roast, fun run or spon­sored abseil, think about hav­ing fun and rais­ing funds for the Poppy Ap­peal.”

If you would like to help us, or­der a box for your es­tab­lish­ment from your lo­cal Le­gion branch.

Our web­site is http:// coun­ties.british­le­gion.org.uk/ coun­ties/spain-north From there you can find the con­tact for your near­est branch or for in­for­ma­tion email Peter Phillips on spainnorth.se­cre tary@rbl.com­mu­nity

Pop­pies at the Na­tional Memo­rial Ar­bore­tum at Al­re­was, Stafford­shire

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