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Poppy appeal launched at racecourse

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Wash Common war hero Mark Jackson delivers stirring speech to launch 90th Poppy Appeal

NEARLY 10,000 people attended the official launch of 90th West Berkshire Poppy Appeal at Newbury Racecourse's Armed Forces Raceday today (Saturday).

Wash Common Conspicuous Gallantry Cross holder, Marine Mark Jackson opened the event, which was staged at the racecourse for the fourth consecutive year.

In his opening address, which followed a parachute display, Mn Jackson told of his personal affinity for Remembrance Day: “My generation is the Afghanistan generation and we have all lost comrades who deserves to be remembered, which makes occasions like this all the more special.”

He also stressed the importance of British military involvement in Afghanistan, where he is currently serving: “I believe the armed forces are making a very real difference in Afghanistan, it allows the local people to go about their daily business, which is all they ever wanted to do.”

Mn Jackson's address was followed by a touching strewing of poppies and a minute silence, after which the day's races commenced.

Mn Jackson received his award – which is second only to the Victoria Cross – after he dived on a colleague to save him from a blast in Afghanistan.

For more information and pictures, see this week's Advertiser and Newbury Weekly News.

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