The Poppy Appeal - helping people to live on

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It was created by the Royal British Legion (RBL) to help those returning from the Great War and continues to do so today, whether coping with bereavement, living with disability or finding employment.

Sgt. Larry Phillips outside his Hillmoor Street home in Pleasley.

Sgt. Larry Phillips outside his Hillmoor Street home in Pleasley.

And a Mansfield man has given firsthand testimonial of the charity’s work helping our veterans through troubling times.

Larry Phillips (38) served for 14 years in the Army’s 1st Battalion Light Infantry regiment, during which time he saw much operational service in Sierra Leone, Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Iraq.

But a road traffic collision with a lorry in 2007 left the father-of-four with horrific injuries which saw him hospitalised for three years.

After leaving hospital the veteran was unable to work and left struggling to pay basic rent and bills - eventually becoming homeless.

Larry turned to the Legion for help, and was found affordable accommodation in a derelict Pleasley house which was renovated by ex-servicemen.

The RBL also covered the cost of white and brown goods for the house including bedding, bedroom furniture, bunk beds for the children, groceries and carpets, cooker, washing machine and curtains and blinds.

Said Larry: “The Legion went above and beyond the call of duty for me and still do, even if it is just phoning me to check I am not failing.

“They helped me find employment by giving me a suit and some money - they basically organised everything for me.

“I would still be relying on mates for a roof over my head of it was not for them.”

Larry’s life has seen a real turn around in recent times and he now works for a Nottingham builders’ merchant and is Parade Marshal at the Territorial Army Centre in Bulwell, Nottingham.

He said: “I will never be able to run again and have very bad arthritis.

“Most would struggle to work a physical job with my injuries, but I have a high pain threshold and it is my army training which motivates me to keep going.”

The Royal British Legion is encouraging everyone to support the Poppy Appeal for the memory of the fallen and the future of the living.

You can donate in person by buying a poppy from volunteer collectors, by text or by phone.

Visit www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/poppy-appeal for more details.