A LEADING police officer will take a break from catching criminals to go in pursuit of another kind of target during this year’s annual Poppy Appeal fundraiser.
Detective Inspector Steve Duffy of Banbury Police Station has organised a major fundraising event to take place in London on November 1.
As a former Scots Guardsman and accomplished bagpiper, Mr Duffy has put together a band of more than 30 pipers and drummers from across the region to support the London Poppy Appeal on November 1.
He said: “Among other charities, I support the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal and for the past three years have been actively involved in the London Poppy Day Appeal which is held annually on November 1 and last year raised more than £430,000.
“This year I am putting together a composite band of more than 30 pipers and drummers from across the south of England who are giving up their time and services to support the fundraising.
“I’m really pleased with the response from the pipe band world as this effort relies on the goodwill of the participants.
“The only bit we are missing is if, as a token of appreciation, a business could help with a small packed lunch for the band!”
The day will begin with the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, arriving by Royal Marine Commando Rigid Raider up the River Thames.
The event will culminate in a sunset ceremony at Covent Garden with the Military Wives choir and live broadcasts from Chris Evans and Eastenders cast members, as well as a Second World War Spitfire and military band performances. It is hoped the event will raise more than £750,000.
Closer to home, there will be poppy collections at Banbury Train Station headed by Banbury town, Cherwell district and Oxfordshire county councillor Kieron Mallon from 7am.
Mr Duffy said: “This area has many connections to our armed forces and the Royal British Legion has a strong bond with the community.
“The work they do is as powerful and needed as ever it has been.
“My own son Robert has just begun a second tour of Afghanistan with First Battalion Scots Guards and many other local men and women have and are also serving in theatre.
“This is the least we can do to help and I hope as many people as possible will help support this good cause.”