Lifestyle

Poppy Appeal hopes to raise $3m for our soldiers

By Charmayne Allison

POPPIES were among the first plants to bloom in the devastated battlefields of France and Belgium in World War I.

And since 1921, they have been a symbol of remembrance of those who fell during times of war.

Late this month, volunteers throughout Echuca-Moama will be selling this iconic red flower, with 100 per cent of proceeds going to support current and former service men and women in need.

RSL Victoria is targeting $3 million in this year’s Poppy Appeal, with 2018 marking a significant year — 100 years since the guns fell silent on the Western Front to end the Great War.

‘‘By buying a poppy, we’re saying ‘Lest We Forget’,’’ Echuca RSL sub-branch president John Hollowood said.

‘‘We’re thanking a soldier for the service they have given.’’

As a wave of young veterans are finding themselves and their families in need of assistance, state president Dr Rob Webster said it was as important this November, as it is every year, to donate to the Poppy Appeal.

“The Poppy Appeal holds a special place in the hearts of Aussies. And as we wear our poppy this year, we thank the men and women who have fought for Australia 100 years ago and today,’’ he said.

“It’s important to remember the needs of our younger veterans are critical today. Wearing a poppy is also how we can support them and thank them for their service.

“Through your support of the Poppy Appeal, and by wearing a poppy this November, not only are you acknowledging the service and sacrifice of the men and women of the Australia Defence Force, you are raising much needed funds to assist past and present service men and women and their dependents in times of need.”

To commemorate the Centenary of the Armistice, there will be two special poppies this year — a $30 Centenary of Armistice Poppy, as well as hand-crafted poppies.

Poppies can be purchased from the Echuca and Moama RSL sub-branches, from volunteer collectors throughout the community or at local Woolworths stores.

To donate online, visit poppyappeal.com.au