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Birmingham Poppy Day hopes to raise £50,000 for Royal British Legion

By John Bray
BBC Midlands Today

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  • Remembrance Day
image captionMark Freeman and Steve Knott selling poppies in Birmingham City Centre

On Tuesday, Birmingham remembered. And Mark and Steve were determined that the city never forgets.

About 300 military personnel and 100 civilian volunteers, including Amey lighting contractors Mark Freeman and Steve Knott, took part in the annual Birmingham Poppy Day, hoping to raise more than £50,000 for The Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal.

Neither Mark or Steve are from a military background. They simply wanted to help a charity which supports the men and women from Britain's Armed Forces.

The largest one-day street collection in the Midlands saw Royal British Legion representatives at the Bullring, Cathedral Square, New Street Station, Birmingham Airport, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Jewellery Quarter.

image captionBirmingham's Bullring bull was adorned with a giant poppy
image captionFiona Harrison sang wartime songs at New Street Station
image captionSinger Fiona Harrison with soldiers at New Street Station

Rush-hour commuters, airport passengers and city centre shoppers were entertained by wartime choir The D-Day Darlings and singer Fiona Harrison.

image captionMilitary personnel and civilian volunteers spent Tuesday in Birmingham selling poppies
image captionCommuters bought poppies from Gurkha soldiers stationed at New Street Station

The Royal British Legion's West Midlands Area Manager Jane Britton said: "The aim is to raise more than £50,000 in one day.

"It means I will get the funding to be able to help the service personnel that my team look after.

"So that could be anything from getting people to live independently in their own homes, to people who are really struggling with life."

She added: "The response in Birmingham has been fantastic. The support from the general public is absolutely amazing.

"There were reports of £10 notes being put in the collecting tins."

image captionSoldiers mingled with commuters on Birmingham Poppy Day

Birmingham's historic Jewellery Quarter played host to wartime re-enactment performers, while Royal British Legion volunteers visited local jewellery businesses.

image captionStepping back in time in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter

Birmingham's Poppy Day fundraising feeds into the Royal British Legion's national Poppy Appeal target of £50m.

The Legion's Community Fundraising Manager Sophia Snell said: "Every donation received will make a real difference not only to the lives of servicemen and women and veterans, but to their families as well who can also experience difficulties dealing with the circumstances of a loved one who is serving."

image captionSelling poppies near St Philip's Cathedral
image captionTrees in the city's New Street have been illuminated to mark the Poppy Appeal

Aside from Tuesday's focus on the Poppy Appeal, Birmingham's New Street has also been lit up in the evenings in the lead-up to Armistice Day on Monday 11 November.

Public protection barriers around the city centre also boast more than 3,000 poppies.

image captionMore than 3,000 poppies have been planted around the city centre by Birmingam's Retail BID

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