Chart topping pop sensations Alesha Dixon and Pixie Lott headlined a free pop-up poppy pop concert in Trafalgar Square dedicated to Armed Forces families to launch The Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal 2012 on Wednesday 24 October.

They were joined by the Military Wives Choir and star of West End musical ‘Let It Be’ James Fox, singing the official Poppy Appeal 2012 single ‘Landlocked’ written by multi-award winning lyricist Tim Rice with Pete Hobbs and James Fox.

The musical stars gathered to throw their support behind the Poppy Appeal, the nation’s biggest and best loved fundraising campaign in support of our brave Armed Forces community.

Ahead of the launch Alesha Dixon said: "I am honoured to be a part of the Poppy Appeal this year. I took part in wheelchair basketball and archery at The Battle Back Centre for injured Service personnel, which is run by the Legion.

“It was personally inspiring to meet the Centre staff and participants such as Clive Smith, who was seriously injured in Afghanistan. I saw first hand how Clive and other troops are being supported in their recovery through sport, and to focus on what is possible. They put their necks on the line to give us all a normal life, and I’m glad to be giving something back to them by supporting the Poppy Appeal.”

Commenting on her support, Pixie Lott said: "My Grandad was in the Royal Navy and Great Grandad was in the Royal Marines Light Infantry, so when The Royal British Legion asked me if I’d be one of the faces of this year’s Poppy Appeal, I jumped at the chance.

“I visited RAF Northolt to see the Legion’s fantastic work at their monthly advice clinic and met Pamela, a single mother with a one-year old daughter. The Legion’s staff gave Pamela a shoulder to lean on during her divorce, and she’s now getting ready for a tour of the Falkland Islands at the end of November. I really admire Pamela’s courage and resilience and feel proud to be supporting brave Service people like her.”

This year’s Poppy Appeal target is a record-breaking £42 million, with all the money raised going towards the Legion’s vital support for members of the Armed Forces and their families in need.

The Legion’s Director National Events and Fundraising Russell Thompson OBE: "As a result of the public’s generous support, the Legion is able to spend £1.7 million every week on direct, practical care to over 165,000 people a year.

“We’re thrilled to be starting the Poppy Appeal on such a high note and expect this year’s Appeal to be the most successful ever.”

The Legion offers flexible and wide-ranging support to all generations of the Armed Forces and their families, including emergency grants, debt advice, employment and training support, assistance through tribunals and inquests, as well as care homes and family breaks.

Jade Mandara’s family benefitted from the Legion’s support when they were forced to move home suddenly, she said: "I call the Legion my angel – I would have been homeless without them. I really panicked when I found out we had to move out of our house, especially because my partner Shane was serving in Afghanistan at the time.

“The Legion has been brilliant, they gave us bond, rent and white goods – everything we needed to set up a new home. We’re also going on a family holiday next year thanks to the Legion. It will be amazing to go away with Shane and our two baby girls.”

Support to help in-Service personnel is one of the Legion’s priorities in 2012 through a £30 million commitment to create and operate The Battle Back Centre, which provides sports and adventure activities to help wounded, injured and sick Service personnel recover.

Sapper Clive Smith, one of the faces of the Poppy Appeal 2012 poster campaign said: "Taking part in activities like wheelchair basketball, rock climbing and bowling was great fun and really encouraged me to focus on what I could do, as opposed to what I couldn’t do after injury.

“The Battle Back Centre has given me a positive outlook which has really helped in all parts of my life. It’s humbling to know that the Centre has been created because of the public’s generous support for guys like me through the Poppy Appeal.”

Source: Royal British Legion

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