Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Appeal begins on musical note

Appeal begins on musical note

THIS year’s Henley Poppy Appeal was launched in Market Place on Saturday with music and dancing.

Deputy Mayor David Eggleton bought the first poppy from John Green, chairman of the Royal British Legion’s Henley and Peppard branch, at 11am.

A crowd of about 25 people gathered in wet and windy conditions to listen to singer Sam Brown and her International Ukulele Club of Sonning Common perform.

Their set included Cecilia by Simon & Garfunkel and Ghost Riders in the Sky and Daddy Sang Bass by Johnny Cash.

They also performed a medley It’s a Long Way to Tipperary, with which the crowd sang along, Pack Up your Troubles in your Old Kit Bag and Nancy Sinatra’s These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.

Mr Green wore an original First World War soldier’s uniform and carried a replica rifle and danced to the music, while former mayor Martin Akehurst donned an airman’s outfit.

Poppy sellers began collecting from visitors and shoppers.

There was a cheer from the crowd when Ms Brown announced that England had beaten New Zealand in the rugby world cup semi-final in Japan.

Mr Green said: “The significance of selling the first poppy officially to the Deputy Mayor of Henley is becoming part of the remembrance ritual in the town.

“It takes place whatever the weather, bringing out the best in Henley residents. As in past years, what really makes it is Sam Brown and her ukulele group playing music which attracts attention and is really part of the tradition now.

“I think our concentration is becoming more and more focused on the later wars and commemorating these young men who were either killed or damaged mentally or physically.

“They served their country and now it’s time for their country to serve them.

“Give generously and do ask any poppy collector what the poppies are for and they will be happy to explain in detail where the money goes.

“We rely on Henley to come up trumps yet again as they have done in past years.”

Appeal organiser Annie Arscott paid tribute to the “good old British spirit” of the crowd in supporting the launch on a miserable day. “In Henley people are very generous,” she said. “The Legion’s aim is to get more than £50 million this year to support servicemen and women and their families.

“There are many, many conflicts going on around the world where our servicemen and women are deployed, many probably we don’t know about.”

She said her son, Captain James Arscott, who serves in the Royal Marines, was about to be deployed operationally.

The Henley Remembrance service will be held on Sunday, November 10 at 11am.

Anyone interested in selling poppies should call Mrs Arscott on 07702 130432 or send an email to anniearscott51@gmail.com

• A guide to all the local remembrance services will be published in next week’s Henley Standard.

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