COMMUNITIES are being urged to "rethink remembrance" after new generations of heroes were saluted at the launch of this year's poppy appeal.

Towns and villages across the county enjoyed a step back in time as a vintage 1940s red double-decker made its way across south Cumbria to invite more people to remember those killed in action, as well as recognising younger veterans and serving soldiers.

Barrow mayor Anita Husband was joined by the High Sheriff of Cumbria, the Reverend Richard Lee, and Kendal town crier Richard Mathews to officially launch the appeal at the Evening Mail offices in Abbey Road, Barrow.

The bus - a 1955 AEC Regent 3 from Cumbria Classic Coaches - was at the Evening Mail's office in Abbey Road between 9am and 9.30am before travelling to Ulverston, Kendal, Sedburgh, Appleby and Penrith. A second bus visited locations in north and west Cumbria.

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Rev Lee, a former RAF chaplain, hailed the appeal as a "statement of hope" and an opportunity for people across the nation to remember war heroes in a "royal way."

He said: "I call for everyone to remember and never forget the sacrifices of others and to wear your poppies with pride."

As the 1940s bus evokes memories of the Second World War and centenary anniversaries of The Great War continue to roll by, British Legion bosses are also encouraging people to remember the heroes of today.

Judith Reay, community fundraiser for Cumbria and the Isle of Man, said: "Our target is half a million pounds for the whole of Cumbria.

"We receive so many calls on a daily basis and we work in every postcode in the area.

"This year we're re-thinking remembrance; it's not just the First World War or Second World War, it's about other generations.

"We're still supporting servicemen and woman, not just veterans.

"Last year, we had more than 780,000 requests from servicemen, women, ex-military personnel and their families.

"We have a huge amount of research going on to help people live on and that's our message: live on."

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The Poppy Appeal is a national fundraising event that happens this time every year.

A dedicated team of volunteers from The Royal British Legion head out into communities to distribute the evocative symbol of World War One to help fund the work they carry out on a day-to-day basis.

Now, the Royal British Legion wants to turn the poppy into a symbol of hope by allowing the armed forces community to live on through providing mental health care, adaptions for people with disabilities and even family holidays.

Councillor Husband is determined to do all she can to support the legion and believes it as important now as ever before.

She said: "It will be forever important. It has got to go on forever.

"Barrow has a strong military presence in all the forces: the navy, air force, army are all very important.

"The British Legion is a very, very important part of our lives: it's important to help remember the past but the work continues into the present."