Volunteers urgently needed for St Albans poppy appeal

PUBLISHED: 13:01 08 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:01 08 September 2017

Just some of the boxes of poppy appeal items stored and distributed from Mitchell Hall

Just some of the boxes of poppy appeal items stored and distributed from Mitchell Hall

Archant

New volunteers are desperately needed for the St Albans Royal British Legion’s annual poppy collection, after the sudden exodus of all top positions from the district’s branch.

Just some of the boxes of poppy appeal items stored and distributed from Mitchell HallJust some of the boxes of poppy appeal items stored and distributed from Mitchell Hall

Chairman Don Dell, secretary Norman Davies, assistant treasurer Gerald Maguire, and treasurer Peter Noden all stepped down from their posts at a June meeting to discuss the future of their headquarters on Verulam Road.

This was the culmination of a four year dispute with RBL headquarters, which wanted to sell buildings on the site after they failed a health and safety inspection.

Two structures are being offloaded - the Nissen Hut, an corrugated iron structure, and Mitchell Hall, which dates to the 1840s. The St Albans RBL has been operating from the site since 1921.

The RBL is still planning to run its 2017 poppy appeal in St Albans this November - the district raises more than £75,000 every year.

Mitchell Hall home to the St Albans branch of the British LegionMitchell Hall home to the St Albans branch of the British Legion

Community fundraiser for Hertfordshire, Kate Mackay, said the volunteers are “fundamental” to the success of the campaign: “As well as smaller volunteer roles, we need a main organiser who will order the poppies, organise volunteers and help collect the tins and wreaths and ensure we have the poppies in St Albans in time for this year’s poppy appeal.

“We do hope someone, or a group of people, in the area will come forward to take on this valuable role in St Albans.

“People in the city are so supportive and do dig deep for us. During our collections we have a great sense of reward as people always have a soft spot for the poppy appeal and our cause.”

Director of fundraising, Claire Rowcliffe, said: “The poppy appeal is the RBL’s main fundraising event of the year. Our volunteers are very much the lifeblood of the poppy appeal and contribute enormously to the charity year-round through a variety of roles.

“The best thing about being a volunteer for the legion is that we welcome all ages and all backgrounds, people don’t have to be associated with the armed forces, they just need to be passionate about the cause.”

The RBL works to provide wide ranging support for armed forces veterans and their families using crisis grants, family breaks, benefits, and money and inquest advice.

To volunteer contact Kate Mackay on 07920 861161.

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