<p> The Prince of Wales (front centre) and Duchess of Cornwall (third right front), with ten Royal British Legion (RBL) Poppy Appeal collectors: (front row left-right) Lesleyanne Gardner, Jill Gladwell, Vera Parnaby, Billy Wilde, and (back row left-right) David Kelsey, Andy Owens, Anne-Marie Cobley, Maisie Mead, Lance Corporal Ashley Martin and Mirza Shahzad at Clarence House, London, during the official launch of the centenary poppy appeal</p>

The Prince of Wales (front centre) and Duchess of Cornwall (third right front), with ten Royal British Legion (RBL) Poppy Appeal collectors: (front row left-right) Lesleyanne Gardner, Jill Gladwell, Vera Parnaby, Billy Wilde, and (back row left-right) David Kelsey, Andy Owens, Anne-Marie Cobley, Maisie Mead, Lance Corporal Ashley Martin and Mirza Shahzad at Clarence House, London, during the official launch of the centenary poppy appeal

Charles and Camilla launch the Royal British Legion’s centenary poppy appeal

More than 40,000 volunteers are preparing to collect donations this year

Kate Ng
Thursday 28 October 2021 09:36
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The Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall have launched the centenary Royal British Legion (RBL) poppy appeal, marking the start of the annual fundraising drive.

Prince Charles and Camilla met with 10 volunteer collectors, who represented each decade of the appeal, at Clarence House on Tuesday.

Last year, collectors were unable to go out to sell red paper poppies due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the drive is going ahead this year with more than 40,000 volunteers collecting donations.

Charles said: "In November 1921, the Royal British Legion’s first Poppy Appeal took place and the nation adopted the annual tradition of placing a small red flower on their clothing to signify respect and support for the Armed Forces community, their service and their sacrifice.

"The significance of the poppy is as relevant today as it ever was while our Armed Forces continue to be engaged in operations overseas and often in the most demanding of circumstances.

"The simple act of wearing a poppy is only made possible because of volunteer Poppy Appeal collectors who share a common goal - to recognise the unique contribution of the Armed Forces community."

The red poppy became a symbol of remembrance for those who lost their lives in World War I, as the flower became a common sight on the Western Front where British soldiers fought.

Charles and Camilla met 95-year-old Jill Gladwell, who is celebrating 80 years of collecting for the Poppy Appeal this year.

Prince Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (second left) talk with Jill Gladwell, aged 95, and Maisie Mead, 10, who are the oldest and youngest of ten Royal British Legion (RBL) Poppy Appeal collector

She first started collecting as a schoolgirl during World War II, inspired by her mother who collected in the 1920s.

Now, five generations of Gladwell’s family are involved in the appeal, including her 10-year-old great-great-niece, Charlotte.

Gladwell, whose mother was one of the RBL’s first collectors, said: "I started collecting when I was 14 in 1940 and even then I knew the Poppy Appeal was important to the wounded men who had fought for the country and for peace.

"My father followed the legion’s motto ‘Service not self’ and I’m so happy to be back out collecting to support the Armed Forces community and their families this year."

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