'We need your help more than ever', say West Norfolk Poppy Appeal leaders
The annual Poppy Appeal in West Norfolk will look very different when it gets underway this weekend.
Traditionally, members and supporters of the area's Royal British Legion branches would be out in force in the two weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday to raise funds.
But with many of its volunteers unable to take part this time around because of the coronavirus pandemic, organisers are turning to new methods of raising funds.
Paul Giles, co-ordinator of the Lynn branch's appeal, said most of its volunteers were in vulnerable groups and they had decided not to do face to face collections this year.
He said: "It's a completely different animal to what it's ever been before."
Although major supermarkets are still set to house collection points, other businesses are being encouraged to display scanable codes in their windows and suggest their customers donate online or via text message.
The Middleton branch has launched a quiz via its website, http://counties.britishlegion.org.uk/branches/middleton/poppy-appeal, to help meet what it says are the "huge challenges" created by the pandemic.
A message on its website added: "The pandemic has left some in the Armed Forces community, as in many others, in dire need of urgent help and support.
"We are asking our partners, volunteers, fundraisers, members and staff to come together and get behind the Appeal in a way not asked of them before."
But people in the Downham area will be able to support the appeal there at two special stalls on the town's market.
With the support of the town council, the first of those will take place this Saturday, October 24. The other is scheduled for November 7, the day before Remembrance Sunday.
There are no house to house collections this year and the group's usual Poppy Shop in the town hall will not operate this year.
But shops are being encouraged to display trays of poppies and badges on their premises.
And organiser Stuart Dimmock said: "The Poppy Appeal was held every year during the Second World War and our volunteers are determined it will in 2020."
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