Preston features in The Royal British Legion’s annual Poppy Appeal launch today with an installation at Deepdale.
The installation is one of many across the UK that highlight reasons to say ‘Thank You’ to the First World War generation.
Deepdale Stadium is a poignant location in Preston and Lancashire, with it being the location of the Christmas Day football match played by Dick, Kerr Ladies Football Team in 1917.
Dick, Kerr Ladies team was formed at a munitions factory Dick, Kerr & Co in Preston during the First World War in order to raise funds for wounded soldiers from the Western Front who were being treated at the town's military hospital.
The Christmas Day football match raised £600 - some £40,000 in today's money.
The Legion is calling on the nation to wear their poppies with pride and back its ‘Thank You’ movement in the year that marks the end of the First World War centenary.
The Royal British Legion’s Area Manager for Greater Manchester and Lancashire, Alison Bunn, said: “During the Poppy Appeal 2018 and as we mark the end of the First World War centenary in this historic year, we are calling on the nation to say ‘Thank You’ to the First World War generation, not only the British Armed Forces, but those who fought alongside them from today’s Commonwealth, the countless men, women and children who played their part of the home front and the pioneers and artists who have left long lasting legacies.
“The work of the Legion is as relevant and vital today as it was in the aftermath of the First World War when the charity was founded.
"The donation for your poppy will help the Legion support today’s Armed Forces community through hardships, injury and bereavements.
"Generations of the Armed Forces have continued to serve and sacrifice since the First World War, and we recognise and thank them all for their unique contribution."
To launch the appeal a six metre high poppy installation has been unveiled to the public at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, London.
Poppy red threads featuring messages from the First World War generation reach out from this central point and are positioned to face in the exact direction of poignant partner locations across the UK, including Deepdale.
The installations aim to highlight how the legacy of the First World War is woven through the fabric of the nation, often in unexpected places.
The messages written on the threads and the locations have been chosen to acknowledge the wide range of contributions from across the First World War generation.
Alison added: “This Poppy Appeal we have set our highest ever target at £50 million.
"The Legion’s work is entirely dependent on the public’s generous support – so please wear your poppy with pride and dig deep, knowing that you are supporting our Armed Forces community.”
The Legion uses donations to offer life-long support to the Armed Forces community including providing crisis grants, researching the changing impact of blast injuries on the body, lobbying the government on issues that affect our Armed Forces community, specialist dementia care, sport and art based recovery programmes and advising on benefits and money problems.
The Poppy Appeal installations are available for the public to visit and timings are available on the Legion’s website at rbl.org.uk