Poppy appeal 2014: Cenotaph vigil opens on centenary of First World War

Joss Stone joined soldiers at vigil for start of Royal British Legion campaign

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The Independent Online

The memory of those who have fallen in war will be commemorated as the annual Poppy Appeal begins today.

This year is a particularly poignant one, as it marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, after which the Royal British Legion first launched their annual fundraising campaign.

The British Legion is this year calling for a focus on the "future of the living" and the "memory of the fallen".

This morning, a vigil began at the Cenotaph in central London. 'The Watch' is being held in shifts from sunrise to sunset and was inspired by images of the repatriation of the Unknown Soldier in 1920, when guards kept a vigil at the coffin as a mark of respect.

Last year’s Poppy Appeal raised £39 million and the target for 2014 is £40 million.

Each year, more than 40 million Remembrance poppies, 500,000 poppies of other types, five million Remembrance petals, 100,000 wreaths and sprays and 750,000 Remembrance Crosses are made in support of the campaign.

Pop star Joss Stone has also pledged her support for this year's Poppy appeal by joining soldiers at the vigil.

The soul singer was among the first to take part in the vigil at the Cenotaph, alongside former Royal Marine Commando Pete Dunning, who lost both legs when he was struck by a bomb in Afghanistan.

Stone has teamed up with guitarist Jeff Beck to record this year's official charity single, No Man's Land (Green Fields of France).

Poppies can be bought between now and 11 November but the charity collects contributions all year-round.

Additional reporting by PA