SUPPORT for this year’s Poppy Appeal is high as more people become aware of the tough conditions in Afghanistan, the Royal British Legion has said.
Bob Mortimer, the Legion’s county president, said support was as strong as ever.
But he admitted the charity is still facing a battle to get the full level of support needed to improve the lives of troops on and off the battlefield.
And he called for people to back our troops serving in Afghanistan.
He said: "We are still receiving tremendous support from the public through the Poppy Appeal.
"But our troops are still in desperate need of better support, from more equipment to housing and medical care when they return from war."
Last year the Royal British Legion spent over £100m on its work supporting serving and ex-service people and their dependants.
The Poppy Appeal alone raised £31m and despite fearing that the recession would hit it hard, the charity is this year on course to raise the same as last year’s record-setting amount.
Mr Mortimer added: "We were thinking we would be down on support this year with the recession, but county wise for the third year running we look set to top a million.
"In the Huddersfield area alone we are hoping to have made between £80,000 and £100,000 through selling poppies in the supermarkets and on the streets.
"There have been 46 conflicts since the Second World War, but I think people are more aware of the recent wars through the media coverage.
"The people in Huddersfield are also very conscious that the Yorkshire Regiment is going out to Afghanistan for a second time and there are some soldiers living in the area already who need support."
Mr Mortimer said the recession has led to more people signing up for the army and struggling with life when they return.
But he hit back at letters by some readers about the ‘senseless war’ in Afghanistan, saying that what troops need now more than ever is the public’s support.
He said: "Like everyone we would prefer it we didn’t have troops at war, but unfortunately we can’t do anything about stopping it – we can only work to support them and their families and fight for better support from the government.
"The demand for support is greater than ever. The battlefields aren’t as they were because soldiers don’t know their enemy.
"They need better equipment and better treatment when they come back. The mental stress on them is huge and some end up homeless and with their families broken down when they return.
"There is some fantastic treatment available for those with severe injuries, but support is much less available to those with less severe injuries so more doctors need to be made aware that they do need to be made a priority case."
The charity is pushing the government for better financial support for troops.
As homelessness among ex-service people in West Yorkshire is the second highest in the country, the charity is also working with local authorities to provide more housing.