PASSIONATE villagers are having to scale back plans to honour veterans and fallen soldiers by raising funds for charity over Covid fears.

Last year, the residents of Earls Colne and White Colne knocked it out of the park after raising a whopping £7,400 for the Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal.

The sum was the second highest total achieved by the villages in recent years.

Organisers were hoping to repeat their success this year having celebrated the 75th anniversary of VE day and VJ day along with the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain earlier in the year.

However, the decision has been made in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic to scale back this year's Poppy Appeal.

According to organisers, the Royal British Legion is mindful that many of their volunteers are elderly and are considered vulnerable.

As a result, there will be no house to house collections this year.

"Poppies will be available on the usual shops and other locations in the villages as well as Co-op supermarket.

Organisers have also been told they can still hold a street collection provided a table is used to distance collectors from members of the public.

Organiser Ian Allman said: “Earls Colne and White Colne are proud to be able to say that there are sufficient volunteers who are prepared to go around and knock on doors to raise money for the Poppy Appeal.

"Of the £7,400 total raised last year, £3,170 was raised through house to house collections and a further £380 from our regular coffee morning.

"The Covid pandemic will prevent us from doing both of these activities this year.

"Consequently I hope that residents of the two villages will try and make the effort to get a poppy from an alternative source.

"I will be putting boxes of poppies in most of the usual outlets in the village (from 24th October) and we are able to have a stand in the High Street outside the Co-op from Saturday 31st October to Saturday 7th November.

"The Royal British Legion have stated that we must use a table to distance the volunteers from members of the public this year.

"Almost all of my volunteers are elderly but despite this many of them who would normally do house to house collections have offered to help on the stand.

"The weather will have a big impact on our ability to run this stand.

"By November 2021 I am hopeful that we will be able to resume our normal house to house collections but, as I have already said, many of my volunteers are elderly and this year’s break will mean two years since their last volunteering and it may be that some of them decide that it is time to call it a day.

"At the same time Earls Colne, like many other places, is expanding with several new housing developments meaning there are more houses to call at; so I can foresee that I might be short of volunteers by the time we get to the 2021 Poppy Appeal.”