Poppies support veterans ‘both past and present’

Helping to launch this year's Northern Ireland Poppy Appeal was Anna Ferguson, who presented the first poppy of the Appeal to Belfast Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister.
Helping to launch this year's Northern Ireland Poppy Appeal was Anna Ferguson, who presented the first poppy of the Appeal to Belfast Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister.

Supporting the Armed Forces “both past and present” is the theme of this year’s annual Poppy Appeal which was launched in Belfast on Friday.

Belfast Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister received the first poppy of the 2017 campaign from Scott and Anna Ferguson – the children of a local Armed Forces veteran.

This year the Royal British Legion (RBL) set a Northern Ireland fundraising target of £1.3m to help support serving personnel as well as veterans. The overall UK target is £47m.

It provides support in a number of ways, including aiding medical research into blast injuries, sport and art-based programmes, and benefit and financial advic.

The RBL said it wants the public “to reconsider what the poppy stands for and wear it in support of the Armed Forces community, both past and present”.

Speaking at the Belfast ‘Rethink Remembrance’ launch, Ms McAllister said “every donation can make a real difference,” and added: “Northern Ireland has a large Armed Forces family, and as we approach another Remembrance Day, it’s important that we don’t see the Poppy Appeal as simply an historic gesture to remember those who lost their lives in the First and Second World Wars, but as a reminder of the work going on to support our present day Armed Forces community.”