A RECRUITMENT campaign is under way in West Dorset where locals are being told: The Poppy Appeal needs You.

The 2013 Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal in Bridport and West Bay raised £14,400 and now the search is on for volunteers to help make next year’s total even higher in the year marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The new local Poppy Appeal organiser is Di Davies, from Melplash, who said she wanted to say “a huge thank you” to all the helpers who sold poppies this year.

Miss Davies, a retired army colonel, said: “Sallyann Stoodley, who has done a wonderful job as our Poppy Appeal organiser for the last 15 years, has retired and I have taken on the challenge.

“2014 will mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and hopefully the end of the deployment of British combat troops in Afghanistan.

“It will also be more than 50 years since the last conscript was discharged from the forces.

“In the 100 years millions of men and women have served in our armed forces, with many making the ultimate sacrifice, who we all remember each November.

“We would like to make the 2014 Poppy Appeal very special but, to do so, we need additional helpers.

“It does not need to be an onerous task and we are particularly keen to make contact with people who have recently been involved with the armed forces.

“It is time for younger generations to join the Poppy Appeal.”

She wants to hear from anyone who feels they would like to help with the appeal in 2014 in any way, as a collector, to organise an event, or who simply has a good idea to raise funds which can be taken forward.

Miss Davies said it was not only ex-military people who could help and all ages are being sought.

“I would also like to say a huge thank you to everyone who contributed to the magnificent sum this year. The money raised allows the RBL to give practical help, advice and support to serving members of the armed forces, veterans of all ages and their families.

“This support can range from helping a young widow through an inquest, to ensuring that older veterans stay independent in their own homes.

“The key being that support is available when it is really needed.”

Anyone who wants to help can contact Di Davies on 01308 488661 or 077393 82483 or email didavies@alpaca.fsnet.co.uk