Crawley’s Poppy Appeal fundraisers hope to raise a record-breaking £60,000 for ex-servicemen and women.
The Mayor of Crawley Chris Cheshire officially launched the Crawley & District branch of the Royal British Legion’s annual appeal.
Cllr Cheshire placed the first poppy on the town’s Poppy Appeal wreathe at the event in County Mall on Monday (October 26).
Michael Elliott, the branch’s Appeal organiser, said it was hoping to beat its record for the third year in a row by raising more than £60,000.
Mr Elliott said: “I’m always very grateful for any help that is offered.
“A lot of people come back and collect year after year after year, even though I may not have had immediate contact with people who have been here last year and previous years they always turn up.
“Over the years many many service men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice.
“The ex-service community needs to be looked after.
“We need to recognise what people have done.”
Volunteers had delivered hundreds of collection tins across town for the appeal which runs until Armistice Day (November 11).
The appeal in 2014, which marked the centenary of the start of World War One, raised a record-breaking £55,450.
Some £46,000 was raised in 2013.
Mr Elliott, 69, of Southgate, explained this year’s appeal will cover a wider area after Crawley & Ifield and the Lowfield Heath groups merged to become Crawley & District last year.
He added it coincided with the 70th year since the second world war ended.
Mr Elliott, who is also the branch’s secretary and standard bearer, said the wreathe will be on display at the branch’s stall in County Mall during the appeal.
Volunteers will collect money at Asda, Morrisons and Sainsburys, West Green.