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Poppy appeal launched in Devon with parade in Exeter

The Air Cadets Band lead the parade through Exeter Photo: ITV News

This year's poppy appeal in Devon was launched this weekend with marching bands, cadets, and military veterans parading through the centre of Exeter. Last year's appeal in the county raised a record £1 million, a figure they hope to top this year.

The Lord Lt of Devon took the salute alongside the Lord Mayor of Exeter Credit: ITV News

The poppy appeal launch involved young cadets from all three services. They marched with serving personnel, reservists, and many who'd done their bit in previous years. The Lord Lt of Devon took the salute alongside the Lord Mayor of Exeter as they headed for the Cathedral.

Marching in their midst was 92 year old former Royal Marine and World War Two veteran Richard Staves.

"I do like to march. I go to the Marine reunion in September. I go always to the band concerts on the Saturday evening and I alwasy go to the parade on Sunday. And I march! And I marched last year, so while I can still march I shall march."

– Richard Staves, former Royal Marine and World War Two veteran
Bands, cadets, and military veterans paraded through the centre of Exeter Credit: ITV News

The Air Cadets Band thought leading the parade was a great honour and very exciting.

"It's very important to me because I know had it is to live with not only the physical disabilities but I know how hard it is to live with the mental disabilities as well so it's really important to me."

– EMILY ANDREW-ROWE, Air Cadet

The poppy appeal is well supported in a county with so many military links over hundred of years.

The fund raising for ex-service people in need goes on throughout the year. There's a major art installation in Exeter's Northerhay Gardens in a few months, linked to the First World War.

Jake Moores, President of the Royal British Legion in Devon says the installation is to remember those who died in the Battle of the Somme:

The poppy appeal last year in the west country raised over £3 million, or around a pound for every man, woman, and child. It's a big target to try to raise more than that this year, but it's something they are determined to achieve.

£1 million was raised through the poppy appeal in Devon last year Credit: ITV News