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War poet Amy Campbell (12) helps launch Poppy Appeal

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Amy Campbell (12) from Larne shared her competition-winning poem The War at the launch of the Poppy Appeal 2014 yesterday

Amy Campbell (12) from Larne shared her competition-winning poem The War at the launch of the Poppy Appeal 2014 yesterday

Amy Campbell (12) from Larne shared her competition-winning poem The War at the launch of the Poppy Appeal 2014 yesterday

Larne girl Amy Campbell (12) poses in a mock World War One trench at the Somme Heritage Centre at Conlig in north Down where the Northern Ireland Poppy Appeal for 2014 was launched yesterday.

Amy read her competition-winning poem 'The War' at the event which was attended by the Mayor of Ards, Philip Smith, along with representatives of the Royal Navy, Army and Royal Air Force.

The schoolgirl also symbolically presented the mayor with the first poppy of the year. Chairman of the Royal British Legion in Northern Ireland, George Black, said: "The Poppy Appeal is more poignant than ever this year, being the centenary year of the Great War."

He said the Poppy Appeal is also very much related to the present, with the money raised going to help ex-service personnel and their families from all generations. Last year the Poppy Appeal raised a total of £37m across the UK, of which £1.1m was raised in Northern Ireland.

Mr Black hopes they raise more this year.

He said: "We are helping people who served in Iraq and Afghanistan and indeed those who served anywhere the UK forces have served over the years, if they are still alive."

Mr Black said that the centenary of the First World War was a reminder that "it is as important as ever to wear a poppy and remember the sacrifices of our Armed Forces both then and now".

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The message behind this year's appeal, he said, was "Live on - to the memory of the fallen and the future of the living; a motto which captures perfectly why it's so important to donate to the appeal and wear a poppy".

Yesterday's event closed with the traditional act of remembrance, with the trumpeting of The Last Post.

In London yesterday the UK-wide Poppy Appeal was launched with a sunrise to sunset vigil at the Cenotaph with the Armed Forces keeping guard. To donate to the Poppy Appeal call 08458451945 or visit www.poppy.org.uk


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