Students step in

Students step in to help British Legion Poppy Appeal

STUDENTS from Stoke-on-Trent College are set to step in and help give the British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal a boost.

The group of young volunteers will be helping to man the popular appeal stands all over the city in venues including Sainsbury’s in Stoke and Tesco in Hanley.

This is the first time the college has been involved in the appeal, and Calvin Austin, learner involvement co-ordinator at the college, said he was extremely impressed with the numbers of students who came forward to help out in their free time.

Peter Stubbs, course team leader for public services, who will also be helping out on the stands, said: “This is an excellent opportunity for our learners to pay their respects in a practical manner as well as improve their communication skills.

”This year The Royal British Legion is aiming to raise £42m to help servicemen, women and their families, following a star-studded launch concert held in London’s Trafalgar Square on October 24.

It’s a cause which is particularly close to some of the students involved, as the majority of them are studying on the public services and army preparation course at the college, with a view to joining the armed forces.

One of these is Jonathon Moore, aged 21, who is studying public services, and hoping to join the army as a military police officer.

He said:

“I’ve lost some mates in different wars including Afghanistan and Iraq. One was only 18 and the other was 20, so they were no age really, so doing this means a lot to me.

I also do it to remember all those who fought in the other wars as well because if they hadn’t sacrificed themselves for our tomorrow we wouldn’t be here today.

It’s the first time I’ve done it and I also think it’s important for younger people to do things like this because we do get a bad press, though I’m guessing people will be a bit surprised to see someone young selling the pies, it’s important for us to give something back as well.”

Kieran Clarke, poppy appeals officer for North Staffordshire, said:

“We were surprised and pleased when the college approached us, and this is the first time we’ve done something like this with them. It’s a great help to us, as at one stage I did wonder if we would be able to man all the tables as we always need more volunteers.

At one stage the Poppy Appeal was all about the Great War, but now it’s much more about recent conflicts in the Gulf and Afghanistan, as the appeal helps pay for counselling and rehabilitation of those service men and women  and we work alongside groups such as Help For Heroes.”

The Legion is looking for volunteers to sell poppies. Anyone who can help is asked to call Community Fundraising Officer for North Staffordshire Mike Stubbs on 07833 480155.

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