Tuesday, 27 October 2020

Legion’s collections hit by virus

Legion’s collections hit by virus

DOOR-to-door collections will not be a part of this year’s Poppy Appeal in Henley and neighbouring villages.

The Royal British Legion, which co-ordinates the annual fundraiser, has told volunteers it is not safe to visit people’s homes because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

They also cannot collect in the street unless they set out a stall without touching the poppies for sale, observe social distancing measures and wear a face mask.

Annie Arscott, appeal organiser for the Legion’s Henley and Peppard branch, said she and her team hoped to set up a table at a “prominent” location in the town centre.

She is in talks with the landowner and will announce more details as soon as possible. From the end of this month, poppy trays and collection boxes will be installed in as many businesses and public buildings as possible so people can help themselves.

Members could also leave poppies on the doorsteps of those who struggle to make their own way into town.

There could also be a competition for householders and businesses to come up with the best poppy-themed displays for their front windows.

Mrs Arscott said: “The community’s safety is of paramount importance and nobody is questioning the continued importance of remembrance.

“This is a challenging time but it’s nothing compared to the experiences of those who fought for the county so we’ll have to put up with the restrictions and find new ways around it. People are very keen to donate, no matter what, and I’ve had a lot of queries about how it’s going to work this year.

“We still aim to raise as much as we can and get the message out there because the people of Henley have always been strong supporters.”

Pete Eldridge, who co-ordinates the scheme for Benson, hopes to set up at a stall in the high street on the weekends beginning October 24 and 31 and November 7 (9am to 3pm).

He said: “It’s hard to plan ahead because the rules change almost weekly and you can never be certain what’s going to be allowed.

“We’re not going to put boxes in too many places — only those which are big enough to allow proper social distancing.”

The Remembrance Day service in Henley on Sunday, Novemebr 8 has been reduced with only six people allowed to attend.

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