Every Poppy Counts - that's the message from the Mayor of South Tyneside as this year's Poppy Appeal is launched with more ways than ever to support the cause.
The Mayor, Councillor Norman Dick and the Mayoress, Jean Williamson, are calling on the people of South Tyneside to get behind the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal like never before, with each poppy sold and donation made going towards much needed support for service men and women, veterans and their families.
This year, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the public is being asked to support in a number of new ways, from donating online or by text to displaying a poppy in their window.
The Mayor of South Tyneside, and ex-serviceman, Councillor Norman Dick said: "Every year, we support the Royal British Legion. We encourage people to wear their poppy with pride and pay tribute to the countless men and women who sacrificed so much to serve their country.
"In the year that we mark 75 years since VE Day and VJ Day, and deal with unprecedented public health challenges, we continue to celebrate the contribution of every member of our armed forces who stepped up to defend our way of life and continue to do so today - whatever the threat.
"Sadly, the pandemic has led to increased demands on the Royal British Legion as it supports those dealing with new hardships, from social isolation, financial difficulties and unemployment to losing loved ones or facing the threat of homelessness, making its work more vital than ever.
"This is why we're calling on everybody to get involved in this year's campaign, to display their poppies with pride and ensure the Armed Forces community continues to get the vital help and support they need. There are more ways than ever to support the appeal."
The Royal British Legion provides welfare and companionship to servicemen and women, veterans and their families, from expert guidance and advice to recovery and rehabilitation. It also acts as a voice for the Armed Forces Community, ensuring that servicemen and women are honoured and respected.
Peter Boyack, President of the South Shields British Legion Club, said: "The people of South Tyneside have always been very generous and supportive of the Poppy Appeal and for that we are extremely grateful. This year, we have had to adapt to the threat of Covid, and we're now calling on the public to support like never before, because every single poppy really does count.
"Each year, our team of dedicated volunteers make the Poppy Appeal happen, but as many of them fall into vulnerable categories, it is simply not safe for them to do face to face collections. This same risk applies to many of our supporters.
"While the pandemic has also brought home the great sense of duty we have to protect the vulnerable and our way of life, it has also had a devastating impact on people's livelihoods, leaving some of the armed forces community in dire need of urgent help and support.
"There are a number of innovative ways for people to get involved this year and help us to ensure the continuity of vital services and support for our armed forces community."
Ways to support the 2020 Poppy Appeal include:
Visit the RBL Hebburn branch pop-up Poppy Shop in Viking Shopping Centre, Jarrow, between Saturday 24 October and Wednesday 11 November. (Opening hours Monday to Saturday - 10am to 5pm and Sunday - 10am to 5pm).
Visit local supermarkets including Sainsbury's, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Asda. Online retailers such as Amazon and eBay and Lloyds Bank and Santander are also supporting this year. There are a variety of cashless donation options available with Morrisons and Sainsbury's also offering customers the opportunity to add a donation to their shopping bill.
South Tyneside Council will be paying its respects on Remembrance Day and Armistice Day with virtual tributes over the Council's social media channels. Follow Facebook STynesideCouncil and LoveSTyneside and on Twitter @STyne_Council to share Remembrance activities and celebrations.