Dorset’s Poppy Appeal was launched at the Barrington in Ferndown on 29 October following a parade in Penny’s Walk led by the Bournemouth Youth Marching Band.
A poppy petal explosion fluttered from the roof of the theatre during two minutes silence before Gerry Nunn, chairman of Christchurch Royal Brtish Legion officially opened the appeal and veteran Mike Arnold MBE sold the first poppy to the Mayor of Ferndown, Cllr Mike Parkes.
Hundreds gathered at the Barrington for the service and Gerry Nunn said, “Every week, 52 weeks a year the Royal British Legion spends 1.25M (about £80M a year) [providing support for the Armed Forces community]. We know the people of Ferndown will give very generously.” He paid tribute to stalwart Mike Arnold who has been associated with the poppy appeal for many years. Young Tilly Green aged 6, dressed in a poppy outfit made by her grandmother Valerie Smith, won the best dressed poppy competition and helped sell the first poppies. Grant Parrott, chairman of the Royal British Legion in Ferndown said a big thank you to all those involved with organising the launch event, which was a first for the town.
A big cheer went up when it was announced that the Orange Teapot had won the best dressed window competition.