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Oakham Castle poppy display raises £20,000

A striking and poignant poppy display that got the seal of approval from Prince Harry has led to a record amount of money being donated to the poppy appeal.

The stunning tribute at Oakham Castle, made up of 10,000 handmade ceramic poppies, was sold to buyers as far away as Greece and the USA , raising a total of £20,150 for The Royal British Legion.

A cheque for the amount was handed over to Nigel Sudborough, president of the Oakham branch, by students at Catmose College on Monday afternoon and has led to a record amount of over £47,000 being handed over from Oakham's poppy appeal.

"We have made a total of somewhere between £47,000 and £48,000," said David Smith, chairman of the Oakham branch.

"This is about forty per cent of what we have raised this year which is quite remarkable.

"What we have raised this year is more than half of what we did last year.

"I'm over the moon.

"It's astonishing."

The Oakham Castle display was created by around 6,000 people from schools, community groups and other sectors of life at 80 workshops across Rutland.

Prince Harry, who was invited to the unveiling in October, said he was very 'proud' of everyone involved in the project, which was the brainchild of Vickie Goddard.

She was inspired by a similar display at the Tower of London in 2015.

"We were just completely blown away by the response of people and it was just incredible," said Vickie, who works as an art technician at Catmose College.

"The first time we were selling them at the Castle, people were queuing from about half past seven in the morning.

"The money just kept coming in.

"We had poppies sold to people in Texas, Greece and Australia.

"They were also left at war memorials in New Zealand and Flanders.

"We had such a fantastic team behind the project who all helped out.

"It brought everyone together and that was the really special part of it."

Gwyneth Andrews, poppy appeal organiser from the Oakham branch of The Royal British Legion, said she wanted to thank the ' whole community' for supporting the charity 'year on year'.

Nigel Sudborough, president of the Oakham branch, praised everyone involved in the project and thanked them for their efforts in contributing to it.

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