Poppy campaign begins in Sidney

Royal Canadian Legion marks armistice centenary with 100 bell tolls

On Friday, the Saanich Peninsula Legion Branch No. 37 presented incoming Sidney mayor Cliff McNeil-Smith with the first poppy of the season. The presentation marks the start of the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual Poppy Campaign.

Val Noyes, poppy chair and past president of Legion Branch 37, said there is no goal set, but they hope to generate enough donations to help the community “in just about any way we can.” Primarily though, the fund is mainly to assist veterans in need. There are no paid staff, said Noyes — everyone is a volunteer.

RELATED: Poppy campaign begins Friday in Central Saanich

The local legion also organizes the annual Remembrance Day ceremony in Sidney, at the cenotaph by the Town Hall. This year marks the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day, which formally ended World War I on Nov. 11, 1918. To mark this occasion, 100 bells will be rung at sunset in Sidney, which is around 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 11. The initiative from the Royal Canadian Legion, called “Bells of Peace,” will have church bells ring across the country. As Sidney does not have working church bells, the bell will be rung by Town Crier Kenny Podmore. His usual bell will be in a rack, so he can tap it with a gavel 100 times.

Poppies are now available at Sidney retailers. Their main office is now at 2360 Beacon Ave., beside Pemberton Holmes.

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