Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 26 July 2014

Pop concert kicks off Poppy Appeal

A pop concert featuring The Saturdays, Union J, Tich, and Luminites launched this year's Poppy Appeal

A pop concert for armed forces families will kick off the Poppy Appeal 2013 today.

Thousands of service personnel and their families will wear their poppies with pride during the concert, at RAF Northolt in north London.

Star acts include girl group The Saturdays, X Factor boy band Union J, pop singer Tich, Britain's Got Talent finalists Luminites, and The Poppy Girls, who will sing the official Poppy Appeal 2013 single The Call (No Need to Say Goodbye).

The Royal British Legion's (RBL) national fundraising target for 2013 is £37 million and every poppy helps raise the £1.6 million needed by the Legion each week to deliver practical help and advice to the armed forces community. C risis grants, family breaks, benefits and money advice and inquest advice are among the support provided by the RBL.

George Shelley, of Union J, said it will be "amazing" to launch , adding: "Personally, the poppy means a lot to us, it's a symbol of pride. I have a brother serving in the Royal Marines, Josh's dad was in the Navy for ten years, and Jaymi's uncle was in the RAF and fought in the Falklands war. We think of them, and all the others who have bravely served, every time we put a poppy on."

Lance Corporal Cassidy Little, 32, of 42 Commando Royal Marine, who lost his lower right limb in an IED explosion in Afghanistan in May 2011, will be among the crowd.

He took part in a theatre project run jointly by the Legion and The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust to aid the recovery of wounded, injured and sick Service personnel, playing the lead role in the Two Worlds of Charlie F, an original play created through the project and based on the real experiences of the personnel.

He said: "The theatre project funded by The Royal British Legion was a turning point in my recovery. While the medical teams put my body back together, taking part in the play Two Worlds of Charlie F gave me back my self-esteem and confidence when it was at its lowest ebb.

"I've now started an acting career and I know the Legion will support me and my family, as it does with hundreds of service personnel every year in the transition from military to civilian life."

The Duchess of Cornwall is also set to visit The Poppy Factory, Petersham Road, Richmond, Surrey.

The RBL's fundraising director Charles Byrne said: "We support the entire armed forces community past and present, but families are at the heart of the Poppy Appeal in 2013.

"We recognise the strength of mothers, fathers, partners and kids in armed forces families, who serve alongside their loved ones every single day, and often need practical care and advice too.

"We're encouraging people to dig deep for the Poppy Appeal, so we can continue providing this vital support to individuals whether they're still serving, transitioning back to civilian life or have left the Services, but importantly to their dependents too."

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