Two years ago, when my father Ron in his capacity as Poppy Organiser for the Isleworth Royal British Legion organised a social evening to thank those who had sold poppies, not even the lure of a free bar persuaded more than about seven or eight people to come out and join in the celebration.
However last Saturday scores of people came out to the Legion to enjoy a great evening at which it was announced that in 2010, for the first time, the local community had collected over £22,000 for the Poppy Appeal. Two Isleworth ward councillors joined us and stayed for most of the evening (certain of them had helped us to collect money outside supermarkets in the build-up to Remembrance Sunday), and the Mayor made a welcome speech before himself joining local community activists at the bar for a drink and a pleasant chat.
There is nothing to be feared or ashamed of on the part of people in positions of office supporting and encouraging community-led activity such as this. Everybody wants to do well by those who have given their lives, those who have suffered injury, their families and their loved ones.
This year, once again, I like to think the community did those people proud, and we are very grateful and appreciative for having received the support of all those who gave up their free time to help.