Each year, for just two weeks, we are encouraged to wear poppies to commemorate fallen service men and women, to think about those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and reflect on how their acts have led to the freedoms we have in our lives today.
I was horrified last year to see someone on Facebook selling poppy shaped cakes for Help for Heroes… a totally different cause, although just as worthy, but nothing to do with poppies or the The Poppy Appeal.
The Poppy Appeal is run by The British Legion to raise funds for their work in helping serving, those in transition between the military and civilian life and ex servicemen. It offers support to anyone who has served at any stage in their life should they need it. Full details of their work can be found on their website at www.britishlegion.org.uk. In old age they provide mobility scooters, they find accommodation for the homeless, they assist ex military personnel that fall on hard time and they give help and guidance to bereaved families.
When my husband was killed in action they were on the phone almost immediately to see what help and support they could offer. They advised me of my courses of action with regards to pensions and found me a solicitor that would best fight my corner when I decided to sue the MOD. My advisor was a lovely man called James Bond and I knew he was available to answer any questions about what lay ahead of me in terms of being a military widow. Not being part of the Ministry of Defence means that they really do have the best interests of those they support at heart.
So, while we remember The Fallen, and the terrible things that those who fight to keep our country safe and allow us to enjoy freedom of speech, wear your poppy with pride, because you have helped in more ways than you can imagine, those who are left behind.