County's Poppy Appeal 2019 launches in Crawley with Tree of Remembrance

Michael Richardson, standard bearer for East Grinstead RBL branch, Lisa Evans,  and Michael Elliot, standard bearer for Crawley RBL branch, in front of the Tree of Remembrance in Tilgate Park
Michael Richardson, standard bearer for East Grinstead RBL branch, Lisa Evans, and Michael Elliot, standard bearer for Crawley RBL branch, in front of the Tree of Remembrance in Tilgate Park

The West Sussex Poppy Appeal was launched in Crawley's Tilgate Park with a Tree of Remembrance.

At the launch The Royal British Legion encouraged the nation to remember together all those from different cultures and nationalities who have served and sacrificed in support of the UK Armed Forces.

Alongside members of the public, veterans and representatives from the legion, councillor Raj Sharma, mayor of Crawley, officially launched the West Sussex Poppy Appeal with a Tree of Remembrance. The tree is decorated with tags that have hand-written messages to the Armed Forces community on them. The tree will remain decorated until after Armistice Day on November 11.

Councillor Sharma said: “Crawley is a very multicultural town. In the council we are proud of that as well as the members and leaders of all faith groups.

"It is right that together we commemorate Remembrance Day, not forgetting that during the first two world wars there were just as many people in the subcontinent, USA and the commonwealth fighting as those from the UK services. Some families of these soldiers have now made Crawley their home.”

The Tree of Remembrance is a place for individuals within the community of all cultures, religions, nationalities and age to come together to remember.

This year the RBL has marked a number of commemorative dates that reminds people of the close relationship the British Armed Forces has with partners from around the world.

Sabrina Gant, business development manager at Tilgate Park, said: “Tilgate Park are very honoured to be able to host this momentous occasion to respect so many people whose lives have been lost at war.”

The tree has been arranged by Lisa Evans the community fundraiser for the legion in West Sussex who said: “Having a place for people to come together to remember is a wonderful addition to the park and to the wider community.

"There are lots of individuals living in our community who will hopefully now feel included in the period of remembrance. We welcome everyone to this tree to take a moment to reflect and give thanks for what our Armed Forces personnel and their allies have sacrificed to secure the freedom we live in today.”

The fundraising target is £940,000. The money raised will enable the legion to continue its vital work delivering life-long support to Service and former service personnel and their families through hardships, injuries and bereavements.