Kind-hearted shoppers dig deep for record-breaking Poppy Appeal

Eastbourne residents have made the November Poppy Appeal at The Beacon shopping centre the best ever.

The appeal in and around The Beacon has topped £30,000, nearly double the previous year’s total. The final amount is £30,000, 391.

Donations were made easier by the supply of card machines to help cash-less shoppers support the annual appeal.

“The generosity of people in Eastbourne has been quite remarkable,” RBL Eastbourne Branch chairman Allan Leith said. “We sold around 10,000 poppies and 15,000 badges. We had a number of card machines for people with no spare change.

“The Poppy Appeal has a place in the hearts of so many people across the country, but I would pay tribute to the amazing support we have had in the town centre.”

Allan had the support of his volunteer team and 30 army, sea and marine cadets during the weeks leading up to last November 12. Their main base was near W Bruford’s jewellers.

The Beacon general manager Mark Powell said he was not surprised by the amount raised. “The people of Eastbourne are always supportive of charity events in the shopping centre. When the poppy display opened for business, we had a queue of shoppers keen to show their support,” Mark said. “It was great to see.”

Community Manager Hend Moussa, who worked closely with Allan and his team, said: “We really wanted to beat last year’s poppy appeal total of £17,000, but I never thought that we would nearly double it.

“It is a truly remarkable achievement and once again highlights the generous spirit of our wonderful shoppers,” Hend said. “I would also pay tribute to the retailers, who really got behind the Poppy Appeal. It was such a team event.”

Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell and 15 team members also helped out in The Beacon, as did Lib Dem parliamentary spokesman Josh Barbarinde.

Across the whole town, a total of £98k was raised through collections in the major supermarkets, community halls and other popular meeting points.

For this year’s appeal, The Royal British Legion will use the Gather unit in The Beacon as a base for their collections. “This is perfect for us, as it means we can keep our reserve stocks and additional gifts in The Beacon during the three-week campaign,” Allan Leith added.

“Preparations are already underway and I am working closely my fantastic team to ensure Eastbourne has a steady supply of poppies, badges and assorted merchandise. It will be another great year!”