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Poppies unite the ages in remembrance
Buy this photo » Oxford’s Lord Mayor Dee Sinclair is encouraging people to wear a poppy to mark Remembrance Sunday
PREPARATIONS are under way across the county to honour the men and women who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in conflicts across the globe.
With uniforms cleaned, and shoes and medals polished, the old and young will join forces to mark Remembrance Sunday on November 10.
Parades and church services will mark the culmination of the two-week Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, which this year hopes to raise £470,000 across Oxfordshire.
On Friday, we launched this year’s appeal with organisers urging people to dig deep to help reach the target.
Last year’s Oxfordshire appeal raised more than £455,000 – and the money has been used to help injured and retired servicemen and their families.
For many, Remembrance Day is a chance to take a few minutes to remember family, friends and colleagues and the sacrifices they have made.
Second World War veteran Edward Cordery, 90, had hoped to attend a ceremony at HMS Belfast – his old ship – but is too poorly to go.
But Mr Cordery, of Turnpike Road, Cumnor Hill, Oxford, said: “I will be sitting at home and will still be with them, because it’s very important.
“It’s the one time everybody gets together to remember people who gave their lives and won’t return. You can’t give any more than that and I think it should be remembered.
“I still think as a country we have a duty to our past and the people who gave their lives. So many people in the country have been touched by the sacrifice, wherever they are.
“It doesn’t take much to sit quietly for a while and remember them.”
The former lead seaman and torpedo operator was presented with the Arctic Star medal earlier this year by Prime Minister David Cameron.
His missions took him around the Arctic, escorting convoys to the then Soviet Union.
Oxford’s Lord Mayor Dee Sinclair urged people to wear their poppy. She said: “It’s really important we remember the people who died to make sure we are able to live in peace.”
Ms Sinclair has stood alongside members of the Royal British Legion in Headington to honour repatriated troops as they make their final turn into the John Radcliffe Hospital.
She said: “The British Legion does a remarkable job at these repatriations. It’s very moving.
“The legion continues to support the families of troops and individuals who come back injured, who may need help and support for the rest of their lives.”
Oxford Town Hall will also observe two minutes’ silence on November 11, at 11am, to mark Armistice Day.
In the run-up to Remembrance Sunday we’ll be bringing you a different story every day focusing on the preparations, those behind the scenes, the people the Poppy Appeal benefits and the stories behind it.
Army of collectors spread word of legion’s work
David Crabbe, a former soldier who served for 31 years with the Royal Ordnance Corps, has taken over as Bicester and Launton’s Poppy Appeal Organiser.
This week he handed out thousands of poppies to a small army of collectors who will take to the streets next week to sell them.
Last year the Royal British Legion branch raised about £29,000, but this year organisers are urging people to dig deep as they have set a £40,000 target.
Branch secretary Mr Crabbe, 67, said: “There’s an ever-increasing need for long-term welfare of our military veterans. Some veterans now are only aged 20 and they are going to need care for the rest their lives.
“The Government don’t fork out for it, so it’s down to charities like the Royal British Legion to provide long-term care and welfare for these people.
“So the more we can collect the better.”
He will oversee dozens of collectors, who will be dotted around the town, including Sheep Street, Market and Pioneer Squares, as well as Bicester Village.
A team of Army cadets will be drafted in for the last day of the appeal, on Saturday, November 9, and will be based in Bicester town centre.
Anyone who still needs a wreath or who is interested in volunteering as a collector should call Mr Crabbe on 01869 249303.
TRADITIONAL SILENCE REMEMBERS THEM
On November 11, the nation will also hold a two-minute silence.
The First World War officially ended on the 11th hour on the 11th day on the 11th month, 1918, on what is called Armistice Day.
The following year, the act of a two-minute silence was begun by those who did not want to forget the millions killed, injured and affected by the war.
This tradition continues as millions of people stop what they are doing and observe a two-minute silence at 11am on November 11 each year to remember veterans of all conflicts.
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