Painted poppy blooms for British Legion appeal

What is believed to be Britain’s largest poppy painted on a sportsfield has helped launch a Royal British Legion `Live On` regional remembrance appeal.

A dedicated linemarking team from turf technologists Vitax Supaturf took two full days to create the eyepopping emblem, measuring an impressive 45m x 35m, on one of the football pitches at Rothwell Juniors FC in Leeds.

The poppy, applied in Vitax’s own red, green and black Stadia Colours linemarking paints, drew praise from Royal British Legion regional organiser Debbie Westlake, who visited the ground to see the spectacle for herself.

“What a magnificent effort in aid of our appeal,” she said. “It forms a powerful focus for the young people who play football here regularly and strengthens the bond of remembrance between them and those who fell in conflict.

“I’m hoping that the poppy will help us surpass the £18,000 raised in the Rothwell area last year, part of the £420,000 donated in the Leeds district and the £1,067,618 total for West Yorkshire.”

Vitax Supaturf Northern Technical Manager Graham Wingfield, who led the project, said: “This is very much a labour of love for us and is our way of doing our bit for the poppy appeal. 

“The poppy we painted on to a playing field in St Ives, Cambridge, last year, caused plenty of local interest and we hope our Rothwell Juniors tour de force does the same for the Royal British Legion this time.”

“Year on year, our aim is to create the largest poppy of its kind around the country to continue a tradition of supporting what is such a worthy cause.”

Those wishing to make a donation can visit www.britishlegion.org.uk where they can pledge cash to boost the Royal British Legion’s fundraising drive.

Assembled to celebrate the marathon effort was Rothwell Juniors FC director Brian Walker, son Steven, who tends the site, Debbie Westlake and the Vitax team of Graham Wingfield and Technical Representatives Allan Wainwright and Alex McDermott.

“Although none of my predecessors fought on the battlefield, my father and uncle worked for Yorkshire Copperworks making munitions for WW11 troops,” Brian notes, “while a distant uncle was a medic.

“I’m proud to be a part of this year’s poppy appeal and sincerely hope that it is a bumper fundraising effort.” 

www.vitax.co.uk