VIDEO: Flying start for poppy appeal

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HARTLEPOOL’S bid to smash its record for the sale of poppies got off to “a flying start” by raking in more than £3,000 in the first weekend.

And the woman running the sales drive attributed the early boost to kind-hearted Army Cadets who gave up their Saturday to help kick-start the bid to better last year’s record-breaking collection of almost £46,000.

From left, Keith Barry, Sian Cameron, Daniel Harrison, Matthew Ellett, Daniel Callaghan, Owen McCabe and Brian Bewick in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre

From left, Keith Barry, Sian Cameron, Daniel Harrison, Matthew Ellett, Daniel Callaghan, Owen McCabe and Brian Bewick in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre

Sian Cameron, poppy sales co-ordinator for Hartlepool, said: “The very fact we had the Cadets out on the first day this year has definitely made a big difference.

“They were absolutely fantastic and even though they’d been on their feet for hours, walking round the centre to catch as many people as possible, not one of them would go home when I asked them if they wanted to finish early.”

The 16 Cadets were stationed in the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, where their efforts netted a total of £2,029.

The cash has been added to the £1,265 raked in from a two-day collection in the town’s Morrisons supermarket to make a grand total of £3,294 for the weekend.

The figure does not include donations for poppies on sale in 250 outlets across Hartlepool, which are tallied up after the end of the campaign on Remembrance Sunday.

Ms Cameron said: “It’s an absolutely brilliant total for the first weekend, and especially to have taken so much money in one place in the Middleton Grange on Saturday. One man put a £20 note in the collecting tin and took just one poppy.

“I feel like we’ve got off to a flying start. The good people of Hartlepool have dug deep yet again and I’d like to pay tribute to them. They really are wonderful.”