Bridport’s branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) has been recognised for its work during last year’s Poppy Appeal.

The branch’s donations soared by 39 per cent as £20,057 was collected during the 2023 appeal and the volunteers' efforts have been recognised at the RBL’s county conference.

READ: Bridport raises nearly £20,000 for the Royal British Legion

The town’s Poppy Appeal organiser Mike Thompson was present at the event in Ferndown, along with Legion secretary Tony Williams, who picked up the Best Small Branch shield from the county president Commodore Richard Bridges.

Mike said: “I have been doing the Poppy Appeal for three years, since after Covid.

"The first year I was thrown in the deep end and stumbled my way through it.

“But the next two years, we went from £16,000 to £20,000 this year and I have plans for expansion with more businesses and events line up.

“It is a privilege to be the Poppy Appeal organiser I have had lots of people around me helping me.

“I would like to thank all the fellow organisers, Brigadier John Dean and Bill Davies, the endless volunteer collectors and the generous Bridport public that made this honour possible.”

Mike served in the Royal Navy for 22 years and stepped in to help at the Bridport branch of the RBL at a time when its future did not look so bright.

READ: Last chance to save Bridport RBL branch

He added: “I got involved after we came out of lockdown because the British Legion was going to fold if no one took it on, and the hall would have been sold.

“We went to an emergency meeting and formed a committee – we have the appeal, we have coffee mornings at the hall and we hire it out for events too.”

The RBL has a total of 30 branches across the county from Lyme Regis to Gillingham with around 7000 members.

As the nation's leading Armed Forces charity, it provides care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present as well as their families.

In total it raised £47 million across the UK during the 2023 Poppy Appeal which culminates in the Remembrance Sunday as the nation remembers those who have sacrificed their lives in war.