The Poppy Appeal has officially returned in Princes Risborough following a successful relaunch in the town.

Members from the Royal Air Force attended the launch party at the town’s Chiltern Lodge branch on October 26, which saw residents, volunteers and supporters all don their poppies.

The project was spearheaded by the Royal British Legion’s director of casework, Mark Collins, who spent 23 years in the force.

Bucks Free Press: Mark Collins (left) pictured with a poppy in Princes RisboroughMark Collins (left) pictured with a poppy in Princes Risborough (Image: NQ)

READ MORE: Only £10 raised in fundraiser to help Buckinghamshire primary school

His plan to reintroduce the Poppy Appeal in the town came after no poppies were sold through the RBL in 2022.

Speaking to the Free Press, Mark said: “When I gave my talk, people were really engaging with it which was great and I’m very proud to talk about it all.

“This is a cause that is very close to my heart, and all the money raised will help those in the armed forces up and down the UK.”

Mark spent just short of 25 years in the force, in which he would embark on tours in the Falklands and in Afghanistan – a country he would visit on two occasions.

READ MORE: 'What can’t be good about it?' - Hundreds raised for hospice through charity show

During the latter visit in 2012, the former caterer and logistics officer recounted the death of one of his good friends whilst fighting in the Central Asian country.

He continued: “I had two tours of Afghanistan with the second one being with the US Marine Corps, and it was from that experience that made me realise how important the charity is.

“One of my good friends and colleagues was killed out there, so this charity really means a lot to me as it doesn’t It doesn’t matter what nationality you are.

“After that, I reached out to the master sergeant’s mother after his passing and to this day, we still speak.

READ MORE: Poppy Appeal returns to Princes Risborough after a year away

“I send her poppies every year and she still puts them on her son’s grave at Arlington.

“She’s very appreciative of the fact that we continue to remember him 12 years on.

“This shows that your service is never forgotten and if you choose to wear on, wear your poppy with pride.

“Through the support of the armed forces, you have that freedom of choice.”

The poppies are available through 55 separate outlets in Princes Risborough, which include numerous shops along the high street, Tesco, and in parts of neighbouring Askett, Casden and Longwick.