POPPY sellers have raised thousands of pounds again this year to support servicemen and their families.

The Bicester & Launton branch of the Royal British Legion raised £25,500 from this year’s collection.

Organiser Brian Leach took on the role as appeal organiser at the 11th hour after the former organiser stepped down because he was moving house.

Mr Leach said although the number of collectors was down this year, all the volunteers did an “amazing” job.

The 44-year-old, a former Corporal in the Royal Ordnance Corps and the Royal Logistics Corp, said: “We have raised £25,500 and there are still a few cheques to come in.

“I’m quite chuffed considering I took it over at the 11th hour.

“EP Barrus, Shop Mobility and the Ex-Services Club have been great and given us a base and somewhere to sort our stuff.

“And with help from Bicester Round Table and the 41 Club, we had about 45 collectors out which boosted our numbers.

“The volunteers have all done an absolutely wonderful job, it’s down to them we have raised this amount of money.”

Among the collectors, Bicester Air Cadet Force (ACF) were out in force on the final day of the Poppy Appeal and a dozen members took up posts around Bicester town centre. In just one day the group raised £1,145.13.

Another volunteer, former soldier Lloyd Green, now an instructor with the ACF and security guard at Bicester Defence Storage and Distribution Centre, raised £3,117.49 after he stationed himself at Bicester Village for the duration of the two-week appeal.

Mr Leach said: “He was down there nearly every day in all weathers. He’s absolutely brilliant. He was coming off night shift, going to bed for a few hours, then going out to collect for five or six hours, then going to work.”