THE outstanding charitable efforts of a dedicated band of young volunteers in a bid to support the British Armed Forces past and present.

Worcestershire's branch of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal held an awards evening at Dancox House, the 214 Battery RA’s Army Reserve Centre, Worcester, on Friday, May 2 to recognise the county's fund-raising prowess.

Army Cadet Forces, Sea Cadets and Air Training Corps from across the county attended the event to accept their awards for the money they raised for the 2013 Poppy Appeal.

The top three individuals who collected the most money were all from St John's Army Cadet Force - Olivia Pugh raised £1,170.03, Sophie Lee raised £447.20 and Billie Jo Grogan collected £344.75.

Other awards included the one given to 187 City of Worcester Squadron ATC for raising £1,231.81, the 516 Squadron ATC Kidderminster were recognised for raising £797.11 and the Malvern Sea Cadets who raised £1,036.48.

The awards were presented by Deputy Lord Lieutenant Andrew Grant and the evening was hosted by Nick Martin, the community fund-raiser for the Worcestershire Poppy Appeal.

The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal supports service personnel and their families in a variety of ways.

In 2013 they spent £84 million on health and welfare for the service community, provided benefits and money advice to 11,400 people, handed out immediate needs grants to 25,000 beneficiaries and supplied four Poppy break homes for the Armed Forces community and service children.

It is the legion's biggest fund-raising campaign and in 2013 it focussed on the range of work it does to support Armed Forces families, whether they are families of personnel on active service, of those currently in transition from military to civilian life or of veterans.

The legion's volunteers have so far helped to raise more than £34 million during the campaign which began in October 2013.

Poppies were first suggested as a symbol of remembrance in 1918 and were adopted by the American Legion in 1920, with the Britsh Legion adopting the symbol in 1921 and the first Poppy Appeal was born.

The first appeal raised £106,000 - nearly £30 million in today's terms - and all the poppies were supplied from France.