Wales Poppy Appeal: Soldier's mum and Olympic champion at launch

Cathryn Griffiths said the British Legion was invaluable to her as she was coming to terms with her loss

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The mother of a serviceman killed in Afghanistan and an Olympic gold medallist have launched the 2012 Wales Poppy Appeal.

Cathryn Griffiths, the mother of guardsman Jamie Shadrake, said the British Legion was invaluable to her.

Jade Jones, who won taekwondo gold at London 2012, said it was a way to show the strength of support for all the armed forces and their families.

The launch was at Flint High School, where the Olympic champ is an ex-pupil.

Major Merfyn Thomas said the focus of this year's appeal was to raise money for the families of service personnel.

Cathryn Griffiths on her late son Jamie Shadrake

"What I remember, what everyone talks about, is Jamie's smile which would literally light up a room.

He was so lively, he was full of boundless energy and always smiling.

I don't have a word to describe how it felt when Jamie died and I'm still in a daze now, still a bit in denial.

To say it's a dark time is an understatement. For me personally the [British] Legion provides a listening ear.

It's even difficult with family because they're hurting too and you don't want to upset them. Two little brothers are so fed up seeing mummy cry, so I try to do that in the car or shower.

I'd like to think I could help the Legion but I've just been offered more support... what I need is emotional and practical support really... and I think I will probably take it.

My message is give to the Poppy Appeal - it's not just for servicemen but also their families.

Jamie was killed on 17 August but his brother also took a blast from a bomb six weeks prior. The help you get is unbelievable. They can do all sorts, life in general, whatever you come across they can help."

"Families suffer as much from the trauma as the individual service person.

"The Legion gives financial help to people who've suffered - help to set up businesses, help to adapt homes for people who are disabled.

"We are a safety net in lots of ways. The charity is for the benefit of service personnel which the state should be covering, but don't."

Maj Thomas said families were vital to the armed services and as conflict continued in places like Afghanistan younger people were backing the Poppy Appeal.

"They're at an age where friends, mates, are serving, whereas five to six years ago you'd have older people [supporting us]," he added.

Jade Jones, 19, said she wanted to be involved to raise awareness.

"I want just want to make people to know of the Poppy Appeal, to realise what people are going through and to try to support the armed forced and their families.

"When I'm training I'm in my own little bubble but then you realise what other people are going through, and it's horrible for them.

"People need to get behind them."

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