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Injured soldier from Merseyside leads annual Poppy Appeal vigil

Pete Dunning from Wallasey lost both his legs when he was struck by a bomb in Afghanistan Credit: PA

A former Royal Marine Commando from Merseyside was among the first to take part in a vigil marking the start of the Royal British Legion's annual fundraising campaign.

Pete Dunning from Wallasey, who lost both his legs when he was struck by a bomb in Afghanistan, was joined in his vigil, at the Cenotaph in central London, by pop star Joss Stone.

The watch 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.

I'm honoured to be a part of this historic event. The RBL is the nation's custodian of remembrance and this is a great way for anyone, whether they have served or not, to remember a loved one and celebrate our armed forces.

The support that the Legion has offered me since my accident has been great. They are helping me to live my life as best I can by making my day-to-day living easier.

– Pete Dunning, former Royal Marine Commando.
Joss Stone and Jeff Beck have recorded the official poppy appeal single for this year. Credit: Royal British Legion

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Police want to trace youths in connection with Poppy collection theft

British Transport Police has released CCTV images of three youths who officers want to speak to about the theft of a Poppy Appeal charity box.

The theft happened around 4.30pm on Friday, 8 November, at the WH Smith shop on platform five at Crewe rail station.

CCTV images show youths in WH Smith's at Crewe station Credit: British Transport Police

Inspector Sonja Simister said: “Three youths entered the shop and, whilst two distracted the member of staff at the checkout, the third cut the zip tie securing the collection box, picked up the box and walked out of the shop.

“Once the theft was reported to us officers conducted a number of enquiries which revealed the youths got on board a train heading to Stoke on Trent.

“Further officers were deployed to Stoke, but the culprits were not on board. We believe they left the train at either Alsager or Kidsgrove.”

CCTV images show youths in WH Smith's at Crewe station Credit: British Transport Police

Insp Simister added: “This was a despicable theft, targeting a charity set up to help the families of, and remember, those soldiers who have given their lives to protect countless people across the world.

“I am determined to trace those responsible and am calling on anyone with information about the theft, or who recognises the youths pictured, to call us as soon as possible.”

Anyone with information can call BTP on 0800 40 50 40 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

CCTV images show youths in WH Smith's at Crewe station Credit: British Transport Police
CCTV images show youths in WH Smith's at Crewe station Credit: British Transport Police

Fundraiser banned from selling hand-made poppies

A charity fundraiser from Cheshire is angry she was stopped from selling hand-made poppies. Cath Fearn from Sandbach makes them with the permission of the Royal British Legion, to raise thousands in aid of injured service personnel. She donates all the proceeds.

But Cath was horrified when the legion ordered an online shopping site to block their sale for trademark infringement. Rob Smith reports.

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Greater Manchester Poppy Appeal launching

The Royal British Legion says it needs to raise £42m this year Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

This year's Greater Manchester Poppy Appeal will launch in the city later.

Territorial Army soldiers who have recently returned from Afghanistan will take part in an event at the Manchester's University Barracks.

Members of the University Naval, Army and Air Force Officer Training Units will also be in the guard of honour.

The Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Warren J Smith said: "These University Officer Cadets, TA members and the players are the same age as our troops in Afghanistan and it is heart-warming to see them supporting the lads and girls overseas.

"They are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with our brave forces."

This year the Royal British Legion says it needs to raise £42m nationwide. It spends £200,000 a day on its welfare work.

Kevin McGuire, the Community Fundraiser for Greater Manchester, added: "The welfare needs of our troops has never been greater.

"Please buy and wear a Poppy to show your support and stand shoulder to shoulder with our armed forces."

The Greater Manchester Poppy Appeal launch will take place at 10.45am at University Barracks, on Boundary Lane.