Poppy Appeal supporters and volunteers joined the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Shropshire, Mark Cuthbert-Brown, and Ollie Ollerton from Channel 4's SAS: Who Dares Wins to launch the Shropshire Poppy Map – an interactive GoogleMap which shows where the nearest poppy is available.
Royal British Legion county chair Ian Williams, Royal British Legion county president Marius Coulon, Shropshire Army Cadet Force Captain Simon Protano, Shrewsbury Poppy Appeal organiser Susan Coleman, and community fundraiser Jenny Robey were all there for the launch.
Jenny Robey said: "In 2020 the RBL are asking everyone to back the Poppy Appeal in a new way. Like so many things this year, the appeal has to adapt to the threat of Covid-19 and we are asking the public to support us like never before, because every poppy counts.
"The Shropshire Poppy Appeal organisers have worked incredibly hard to ensure that everyone who wants to wear a poppy has access within five miles, no mean feat for such a rural county.
"Today we launch the Shropshire Poppy Map, an interactive GoogleMap which anyone can visit and find out exactly where their nearest poppy is available. You can find the link for this on the Shropshire Poppy Appeal Facebook page and Twitter account as well as the Shropshire County website.”
Each year 40,000 volunteers make the Poppy Appeal happen.
However, many of the Poppy Appeal collectors now fall into vulnerable categories, so it is simply not safe for them to do face to face collections.
The same risk exists for many of the RBL’s supporters who can’t leave their homes as they would normally to find a poppy.
A variety of cashless donation options are available for paper poppies and other poppy products this year, including QR codes, text to donate, and contactless devices, to ensure the safety of those collecting and those choosing to donate in person.
More than 15 million paper poppies will be distributed in supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrison’s, Aldi and Asda stores as well as via online retailers including the Poppy Shop, Amazon and eBay. Customers will also be able to donate at the till point in Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s.
Vice Lord-Lieutenant Mark Cuthbert-Brown said: "For obvious reasons, this year is going to be especially challenging for the Poppy Appeal: it’ll not be easy collecting in the normal way.
"Poppies could be ordered through the post for neighbours, for example, with delivery to those in the community who don’t feel safe or cannot get about.
"Think, too, about printing a poppy for display in your window or undertaking a virtual Poppy Run. Every poppy counts so please support the appeal in any way you can."
The Poppy Appeal and Remembrance Sunday are important to Ollie Ollerton, having signed up for service at the age of 18 with the Royal Marine Commando’s, touring operationally in Northern Ireland & Operation Desert Storm in Iraq, subsequently being recommended for SAS Special Forces selection.
More recently he is known for his staring role on the Channel Four series SAS: Who Dares Wins, and is CEO of Shropshire based business BREAK-POINT.
Ollie said: “Dealing with the pandemic has brought home the sense of duty we all have to protect the most vulnerable in our society and our way of life.
"The same sense of duty has endured through generations of our Armed Forces community from the oldest of our Second World War veterans to the newest recruits, and this year once again they have been there when we need them, standing alongside essential workers on the front line in the fight against Covid-19.”
More information on ways to support can be found at www.rbl.org.uk/poppyappeal