Uttoxeter will soon be awash with poppies as the time for the town to raise funds for brave military servicemen and remember those who died in conflict approaches.
The Royal British Legion (RBL) Poppy Appeal will launch for 2017 on Saturday, October 28, and organiser Judith Leedham is busy ensuring everything is in place.
Last year, the Uttoxeter district raised a record £43,000 for the appeal, with funds supporting serving and retired soldiers.
And, as the nation is still in the midst of marking the centenary of World War One, which saw hundreds of thousands die between 1914 and 1918, Mrs Leedham is expecting another huge total this year.
She is encouraging every shop in the Uttoxeter area to display “something poppy-related” in their windows to support the appeal.
Mrs Leedham said: "For a small town, last year’s total really was something special and we’ve been held up as an example by the RBL for other towns.
"I think people in Uttoxeter have a special appreciation for the bravery of our armed forces and that’s shown by the fact collectors don’t have to beg – people come to find them.
"The support shown by shops and supermarkets in town is something wonderful as well and I can’t thank them enough for their efforts last year.
"This year, we really want businesses to get on board by displaying something poppy-related in their windows.
"Anything which makes people more aware of the appeal would be massively appreciated – and it doesn’t just have to be about World War One.
"There are a lot of servicemen still in conflict, or who fought in wars like the Falklands or Iraq, who still need our help.
"If anyone has any stories to share about soldiers’ bravery, we’d be delighted to hear from them so we can help put them out there.
"Collection boxes will be in the shops and poppies will be covering the town by October 28 – and we’ll be decorating the town hall again, too."
Mrs Leedham recently went to Ypres, Belgium, to visit war graves and commemorate those who died in the Battle of Loos, which claimed the lives of scores of Uttoxeter soldiers.
She said: "It was very, very moving and we couldn’t stay away so went to the service in Ypres on five consecutive nights.
"We went to the Passchendaele memorial and were lucky enough to be with a big group of Scots, so the services included bagpipes and whistles.
"My cousin, Rhoda Ridout, and I laid a wreath on behalf of the Uttoxeter district, which was a huge privilege.
"Wakken was also a very moving place to visit, as it was where by brother-in-law was shot down flying back from the Battle of Arnhem in World War Two. He survived and is still with us today, aged 91, living in Wiltshire."
Last year it was announced tht the names of more than 40 soldiers from the Uttoxeter area would be added to the town’s war memorial.
Research by historians Alan and Gillian Talbot uncovered the stories of the forgotten heroes and they were published in their book, Uttoxeter's Lost Generation 1914-1918.
A grant from JCB has funded three bronze plaques, on which the names will be inscribed.
Why is the poppy such an important symbol?
In spring 1915, after losing a friend and fellow-serviceman in Ypres, Belgium, a Canadian doctor was inspired by the sight of poppies growing in the downtrodden fields where troops had fought.
Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae took it upon himself to write a now-famous poem called In Flanders Fields to express how he felt as he looked upon the bright red flowers.
After the First World War, the poppy was adopted as a symbol of Remembrance as a nod to Lt Col McCrae's amazing piece of writing.
An RBL spokesman said: "This inspired an American academic, Moina Michael, to make and sell red silk poppies which were brought to England by a French woman, Anna Guérin.
"The RBL, formed in 1921, ordered nine million of these poppies and sold them on November 11 that year.
"The poppies sold out almost immediately and that first ever Poppy Appeal raised over £106,000; a considerable amount of money at the time.
"This was used to help World War One veterans with employment and housing.
"The following year, Major George Howson set up the Poppy Factory to employ disabled ex-servicemen.
"Today, the factory and the Legion's warehouse in Aylesford produces millions of poppies each year."