05:00PM, Thursday 07 November 2019
Donations were down when poppy sellers lost their pop-up shop to blustery weather on Saturday - but that won’t stop them trying to beat last year’s record-breaking target.
The volunteers were in town collecting money for the Royal British Legion (RBL) Poppy Appeal – the charity’s biggest fundraiser.
Ray Williams, secretary of the Maidenhead branch of the legion said: “Our gazebo virtually blew away.
“Eventually they gave it to about 9.30am and they had to give up – even with two men holding it.”
Ray described the gazebo as the poppy-sellers headquarters.
“The whole point of the gazebo is we can put more goods up – it makes it like a pop-up-shop.
“Without it, Marks & Spencer are kind enough to let us camp in the entrance to their shop but we can only hold so much stock there.”
Last year the Royal British Legion volunteers collected more than £5,000 selling poppies in the town centre on a Saturday.
Ray said this years donations were ‘definitely down on last year’ when the gazebo stayed put all day.
The 2018 Remembrance day commemorations marked one hundred years to the day from the end of the First World War.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the historic D-Day landings in Normandy, France.
“There’s always a temptation to say ‘we’re going to beat this’ – and we do – but there’s always got to be a time when you don’t beat that – but that won’t stop us trying,” Ray said.
Ray said the RBL Maidenhead branch have been ‘really lucky’ to have the Sea, Army and Air cadet services helping them with collections.
Anyone who would still like to donate to the appeal can find Ray and other volunteers outside M&S and Waitrose until Saturday.
Also on Saturday there will be volunteers at the FA Cup tie between the Magpies and Rotherham United and also at the Combined Charities Fair in the Desborough Suite of the Town Hall between 10am-3pm.
There will be a final opportunity to donate for a poppy on Sunday morning at the Royal Borough Remembrance service at the Town Hall in St Ives Road.
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