Wairarapa RSA takes aim on poppy appeal

By Hayley Gastmeier hayley.gastmeier@age.co.nz -
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Masterton RSA president Bob Hill hopes Wairarapa communities will get behind its annual Poppy Appeal. PHOTO/FILE
Masterton RSA president Bob Hill hopes Wairarapa communities will get behind its annual Poppy Appeal. PHOTO/FILE

Wairarapa people wishing to show their support for war veterans can do so this Friday, with the annual Poppy Appeal hitting the streets.

Masterton Returned and Services Association president Bob Hill said on Poppy Day there would be about 12 fundraising stands throughout the Masterton area, selling the poppy badges.

Poppies would also be available in certain shops and businesses throughout the district.

"This is our one and only annual fundraiser that the RSA has, with all proceeds going to veterans and their immediate dependants."

Mr Hill said he had his fingers crossed for fine weather.

"It will be nice for the community to support their veterans."

He said for the second year running the field of crosses would be displayed in the Masterton Town Square from Sunday, where they would remain for two weeks.

Some schools in the district had been given a set of miniature crosses which they could also erect in their grounds in remembrance of those who have served New Zealand in war.

"I went to deliver some poppies to Opaki School [yesterday] and I saw their own little field of crosses they have got and it looks lovely," Mr Hill said.

RSA national support services manager Mark Compain said 100 per cent of the Poppy Appeal donations went towards RSA support services.

"That is, helping improve the quality of life of these people, whether or not they are members of the RSA."

He said New Zealand currently had 31,000 veterans -- 11,000 from the period from WWII to Vietnam and 20,000 who served in campaigns post-Vietnam.

Although Poppy Appeal street collections would be held nationally on Friday, fundraising would continue until Anzac Day on April 25.

Poppies were the first flowers that grew in the battlefields of Flanders in Belgium during World War I and are a symbol of remembrance and hope.

Z service stations throughout the country will have supersized poppies available to display on cars or windows.

To donate digitally, people can contribute $3 by texting POPPY to 4662, or online at www.rsa.org.nz/donation.

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