A FORMER Royal Marine based at Norton Manor Camp is one of the first people to wear the new completely recyclable poppy for this year's Remembrance.

The Royal British Legion (RBL) today (Thursday, October 26) launches its 2023 Poppy Appeal, with people able to buy its plastic-free poppy for the first time.

The new poppy is the first redesign of the Remembrance symbol in a generation and is the latest in a series of designs since the poppy was first used to raise funds in 1921.

It features a black centre embossed with ‘Poppy Appeal’ and a leaf with a crease and no longer has a plastic stem or centre, and it can be fastened with a pin in the stem, worn in a buttonhole, or a stick-on version is available.

The Royal British Legion has been developing the plastic-free poppy over three years to help reduce single-use plastic and be economical, sustainable and less impactful to the environment.

It has been created from bespoke red and green paper produced from a blend of renewable fibres from responsible sources, 50 per cent of which come from the offcuts created during the production of paper coffee cups.

The launch of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal marks the start of the national period of Remembrance, when the nation reflects on the service and sacrifice of the Armed Forces.

People can get their poppy – the original version or the new plastic-free version - from thousands of volunteers across the UK or from major supermarkets.

All funds raised from the Poppy Appeal will be used by the RBL to support serving personnel, veterans, and their families in a range of ways, from help with the cost of living, mental wellbeing and housing, to support with recovery after trauma or illness.

Former Commando Rob French, 41, from Weston-super-Mare, served across the world, including multiple tours of Afghanistan. One of his close friends was killed in action, impacting his mental health.

Rob was supported by the RBL, who represented him in a tribunal to receive compensation and supported him for his PTSD.

He said: “The RBL truly is there for everyone in the Armed Forces community, and I am hugely grateful for the support I received.

"Me and my family will be wearing our plastic-free poppy with pride this year to not only donate to the RBL and their fantastic work, but also to pay our respects to all those who have served and sacrificed for their country.”

RBL Poppy Appeal director Andy Taylor-Whyte said: “We want to encourage as many people as possible to get a poppy this year and show their gratitude and support to those in the Armed Forces whose service and sacrifice should never be forgotten.

"We’re so proud that this year, we have our new plastic-free poppy too, so that the public can wear this poignant symbol of Remembrance, with less impact on the environment."