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Record poppy sales raises pounds 685,000 for the Legion; APPEAL: Ongoing conflicts prompts public support.

Byline: By Helen Thomas

POPPY sales in Coventry and Warwickshire during the last appeal raised a record pounds 685,211 - an increase of 40 per cent on the previous year.

Royal British Legion county manager Alan Mallett believes the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and the government's failure to look after returning British troops has resulted in more public support.

The total was the second largest county increase in the country and the funds will be used to help both serving and ex-service people and their families.

Mr Mallett said he was very pleased with the amount raised and thanked the public for their support.

"The ongoing conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq is at the forefront of people's minds and so they have given more generously," he said.

"Everyone has been well aware it has been going on but the amount of deaths has brought it more attention than before.

"It is putting things into perspective.

The serving and exservice men and women we help can be very young as well as very old."

He believes the other reason the public has responded so well to the Poppy Appeal is the government's lack of support for British forces.

The British Legion has accused the government of breaking the covenant to look after service men and women and has been running a campaign to improve the situation.

Mr Mallett said: "We have been in the media putting pressure on the government to make sure British forces are looked after when they get home but they have not done so.

"We have had an ongoing campaign demanding this changes."

He added: "We are absolutely delighted to have had such a successful year for the Poppy Appeal in Coventry and Warwickshire and this result is clearly reflected all around the country.

"I'd like to give a huge thankyou to every volunteer who helped us collect this money and every person who wore their poppy with pride."

The total amount raised by poppy appeals across the country came to just under pounds 30million.

IF you would like to make a donation to the Royal British Legion, go to www.britishlegion.org.uk and follow the links; or phone 0845 845 1945; or you can now get poppy wallpaper on your mobile phone - text 'Poppy' to 85552 and donate pounds 1.50 to the Poppy Appeal.

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TROOPS... RBL county manager Alan Mallett believes the ongoing conflicts in Irag and Afghanistan has resulted in more public support for the Poppy Appeal.
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Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:May 29, 2008
Words:418
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