A STRETFORD veteran who has dedicated 25 years to fundraising for the Royal British Legion, has launched this year’s Poppy Appeal at Stretford Mall.

Carl Horne, 71, began fundraising in honour of his father and grandfather, who served in the First and Second World Wars.

In fact, it was his father’s military service that led the family to settle down in Trafford, after his father was drafted to Ringway Airport (now Manchester Airport) to train as a paratrooper during World War II.

Mr Horne is urging shoppers to dig deep to support the Poppy Appeal, as the nation marks 100 years since the end of the First World War.

The Royal British Legion’s fundraising target for Manchester is £1 million, which will go towards the charity’s biggest ever national target of £50 million to continue supporting the Armed Forces community.

Messenger Newspapers:

Carl Horne (right) launching the Poppy Appeal at Stretford Mall with shopping centre manager Gareth Wilkins (left).

Launching the appeal at Stretford Mall, Mr Horne said the military is in his blood.

He said: “My generation, who are in their 70s, remember it because of our grandparents. My grandad Charles Horne fought in it and my grandmother lived through it.

“My grandad signed up in 1916 and served with the Middlesex and Sussex regiments. I believe he was wounded, not seriously as he stayed in the army.

“My dad Joseph Horne served in the Royal Artillery and later the Paras. He was a cockney and part of the Territorial Army when the Second World War broke out.

“He was posted to an island off Scotland in preparation for a potential German attack.

“But they were asking for volunteers to join the Army Air Corps and he ended up in Manchester training at Ringway Airport.

“He met my mum and that’s how our roots were laid here in Trafford.”

“I joined the Army Medical Corps in 1981, and was based on Kings Road in Old Trafford until 1984.

“The British Legion is a big part of my life, which is why I’ll always support it, especially the Poppy Appeal.

“It’s very important. Without the funds from the appeal the Royal British Legion wouldn’t be able to offer the support it does.

Stretford Mall manager Gareth Wilkins said: “We are proud to support The Royal British Legion as it continues to raise vital funds to support the Armed Forces community.

“We urge all of our staff and shoppers to support the Poppy Appeal and acknowledge the sacrifices made by so many, on this important centenary year.”

A Poppy Appeal stand will remain in place at Streford Mall for the next two weeks.