Birmingham enlists for the Poppy Appeal

Birmingham Poppy Day 2014 saw people of all ages and backgrounds come together to support the Armed Forces by collecting for the Poppy Appeal.

Shoppers, workers and passers-by in Birmingham found themselves generously putting their small change into collection tins and buckets on 5 November 2014. It was Poppy Day in the city and nearly 300 volunteers were out and about with collection tins and putting on events to raise money for The Royal British Legion.

One of the key locations for many of the activities this year was Victoria Square in the city centre, where a First World War recruitment tent has been erected to show the public the signing-up process. In 1914, all volunteers had to do to join was give their name and have their height and weight measurements taken.

On Poppy Day, one of the first through the door, or tent flaps, was the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Shafique Shah. "I passed the medical - I am in!" he exclaimed. "Events like this are a reminder of what it was like for all those people who took part in both world wars and sacrificed their lives."

"Its a huge honour for me as Mayor to be part of it. Its also an opportunity for us to pay tribute to the Armed Forces in Afghanistan today who are risking their lives to keep us safe." Shafique Shah, Lord Mayor of Birmingham

Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Shafique Shah 'enlists'

Alongside the tent stand Manjit Singh and Tarnjeet Singh, two members of the 1914 Sikhs, a voluntary organisation that works to raise awareness of the huge contribution made by the Sikh community in India during the First World War. "Its part of the Sikh faith to want to help. Its called seva or selfless service. We'd like there to be more Sikhs in the British Army now, so we are also here to raise awareness among British Sikhs that the Army is there for them" said Tarnjeet.

From left to right: Tarnjeet Signh, Councillor Anita Ward, Lord Mayor of Birmingham Shafique Shah, Manjit Singh and Brigadier Greg Wilson

Similarly Munawwar Uddin Ahmad and Imtiaz Ahmed, representing the Ahmidyya Muslim Association in Derby, came out to show their support for the Armed forces by collecting for the Appeal. "This is the first time we have gotten involved with and raised money for the Poppy Appeal. We started at 11am and will be here all day" they said.

"We are here to shake a tin and show our support for the Legion" Munawwar Uddin Ahmad and Imtiaz Ahmed, Muslim Association, Derby

Students and office workers lined up alongside serving members of the Armed Forces to show their commitment and support for the Poppy Appeal. "I was a bit nervous." said Sig John Parkinson. "I don't often walk about in my uniform, but people have been really friendly."

Sgt Lee McClarence, Sig John Parkinson and Sig Dipak Raj

 "We have been here since 8am and will stay til 6pm. As students we don't normally get up that early! Its been very rewarding though. People have been very generous' said student Faron Watts.

 Students Roland Obernauer, Chris Banks and Faron Watts.

If our volunteers' stories have inspired you, don't hesitate to get involved. Find out more about becoming a volunteer for this year's Poppy Appeal