POPPY appeal campaigners have been backed by a community targeted by bogus callers.
As reported in the Echo, police were informed of fraudsters operating in the Concord area of Washington two months ago, claiming to be collecting for the forces appeal on behalf of the Royal British Legion (RBL).
But as this year’s Poppy Appeal gets under way Malcolm Pickering, secretary of Washington RBL, says the community has rallied round the volunteers and offered support, sending the scammers packing.
“We have had nothing more since then,” said the ex-Royal Fleet Auxillary serviceman.
RBL volunteers do not collect door-to-door or in pubs, and its representatives always carry ID badges.
Mr Pickering said his branch hopes to make this year’s Poppy Appeal the most successful ever in raising vital cash for servicemen and women who have fought for their country.
“There are a lot of pubs in Concord who have asked to help us since they heard about the bogus callers.
“They are also doing a pub watch and they have also taken tins and poppies for the first time this year.
“I’m pleased that they’ve said they wanted to help.”
Earlier this week it was announced that RBL cadet volunteers in Bradford, West Yorkshire, will be accompanied by minders after a number of sickening attacks on poppy appeal collectors last year in the city.
The incidents were the first the RBL has experienced in its history.
But Mr Pickering said collectors from his branch had not had to take such drastic action.
“We won’t be doing that because it’s pretty good around here,” added the 56-year-old.
Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson, honorary president of Washington RBL, will officially launch this year’s Poppy Appeal at Asda, in The Galleries, on Saturday at 9am.