POPPIES return to a town's main shopping centre the weekend after next in advance of Remembrance Sunday next month.

A shop in The Mall, Blackburn, has been decorated with the iconic flower in advance of it opening on Saturday October 23 to raise cash for the Royal British Legion’s annual appeal.

The centre's owners have again given the unit equipment free of charge to the Blackburn Poppy Appeal.

In 2020 the unit was decorated and used as a base for volunteers and, despite being forced to close early due to the second national coronavirus lockdown, £5,300 was raised.

From October 23 until Remembrance Sunday itself on November 14 shoppers will be able to purchase poppies in a Covid-secure manner, give cash or make contactless payments to support armed force veterans and their families.

Loraine Jones, The Mall's General Manager, said: "Last year we took an empty unit and created some stunning artwork to inspire people to engage and donate – and it really worked!

“People’s generosity and desire to help others is as strong as ever after the pandemic and we are hoping to raise even more money this year.

“I can’t wait to see the unit open again and look forward to seeing shoppers wearing their poppies with pride in the coming weeks.”

Neil Shorrock, from the Blackburn branch of the Royal British Legion, said: “It is absolutely wonderful that we are once again able to take a unit in The Mall for our appeal.

“Feedback from volunteers last year was that people were much more engaged with the displays and information and, had it not been for the second national lockdown, I am sure we would have raised a record amount.

“It is very kind of The Mall to provide the unit and additional equipment, they have been massive supporters of our appeal for many years and our fundraising in the centre is always a success.

“It shows what a great community we have here in Blackburn and I would like to thank everyone who supports us.”

The unit is situated near JD Sports and Home and Fragrance.