A WIRRAL marine injured on duty in Afghanistan is inviting Globe readers to organise picnics for the Poppy Appeal.
Lance Corporal Pete Dunning from Wallasey was on tour with the Royal Marines when he was injured by an explosion in May 2008 and lost both his legs. After months of painful rehabilitation he was fitted with prosthetic legs.
All of the Dunning family are involved in work for The Royal British Legion and have raised thousands of pounds on the Wirral for the Armed Forces.
It is their way of saying thanks for the care Pete received after he was injured.
Pete is urging our readers' friends and families to hold picnics on June 21, or throughout the summer, to boose the charity's funds.
He said: "I am delighted to be here to launch Poppy Picnic on the Wirral to celebrate and say thanks to our Armed Forces, and importantly, their families too.
“A Poppy Picnic is the perfect way to make your summer get-together more meaningful…It’s a fun family thing to do or you can get together in your workplace to arrange a Poppy Picnic.”
The Birkenhead Branch of The Royal British Legion, led by Tanya Cawood, will hold a picnic in Birkenhead Park on 21st June 21, 11am -3pm. All are invited to attend and join in the fun.
Lnce Cpl Dunning was serving with the Royal Marines Armoured Support Company on OP HERRICK 8, supporting 2 Para.
On May 25, 2008 he had just finished his last mission and was returning to Camp Bastion.
As he was about to cross the Helmand River the armoured vehicle he was travelling in struck an IED.
The driver died instantly and Pete lost both of his legs, fractured his spine and received burns to his arms and legs, among other injuries.
Both Pete and Laura and even their small daughter Ava are ambassadors for The Royal British Legion.
Pete has had help and support from The Royal British Legion since he was injured.
His wife Laura and Ava launched the Wirral Poppy Appeal two years ago on the Mersey ferry. Last year, the family launched Tranmere Rovers appeal.
On being asked to launch the appeal Laura said at the time: "The forces are probably in everyone's mind an awful lot more. Going back, people thought of the Legion as World War Two veterans, but there is a of younger generation and we need to be supporting them for life.
"He suffered numerous injuries and it's obviously his legs that are an issue and we currently facing further amputation, potentiallly of the right leg, which will then pose its own new set of problems and, essentially, he will need to learn to walk again.
"It's a daunting concept, especially when you've got a small child in the house. You just think you've mastered the art of one thing you're going to go back to basics again."
The Royal British Legion provides help and support for our Armed Forces past and present, and their families for as long as help is needed.
Anyone who cannot hold their picnic on 21st June can hold their event at any time throughout the summer.
The British Legion’s director of fundraising, Charles Byrne, said: “You can bake, play games or offer prizes in exchange for a small contribution to donate to the Legion’s vital work.
“Even the smallest amount will make a real difference.
“Armed Forces families are a key focus for the Legion this year. We spend £1.6 million each week providing wide ranging, and practical support to families in need, including crisis grants, family breaks, and benefits and money advice.”
Free Poppy Picnic packs are available from Iceland stores so pick one up today to start planning your event.
More than 1000 Poppy Picnics have been held across the country since they were launched last year.
To register an event visit www.poppypicnic.org.uk