The Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Councillor Len Gregory, launched this year's Poppy Appeal on Saturday, in front of a crowd of shoppers and people who had gathered to be part of the day

Bystanders were encouraged to put on a poppy as they were entertained by the Projects Gospel Group, drums and bugles of 165 Air Training Corps and the sea cadets semaphore demonstration.

The Sikh Gakta Troupe gave energetic display of swords flying and drums beating, while the Royal British Legion added a flourish with their standards along with the motorbikes of the Riders Group.

Representatives from all the services helped to collect for the charity, including the military student nurses from Selly Oak Hospital who see first hand the impact of the funds raised by The Royal British Legion on today's Afghan generation of soldiers and their families.

The Royal British Legion is the leading UK charity providing direct, practical support for our injured heroes and bereaved Armed Forces families.

The past nine years of conflict in Afghanistan has increased the need for help both for today's generation and for years to come and this year the National Poppy Appeal is seeking to raise a record-breaking £36 million.

Mike Sharpe, Poppy Appeal co-ordinator in Birmingham, said: "We are hoping to raise £1 million in Birmingham this year. Despite the current economic times, we trust the people of Birmingham will show their sympathy and support for those who have sacrificed so much on behalf of their country.

"We have represented one-third of all those who have appealed for higher compensation payments for injuries suffered in Afghanistan. Our campaigns have led to increased compensation awards, which have placed an extra £12 million in the pockets of the most seriously injured."

The Legion currently spends more than £1.4 million a week or over £200,000 a day in its work helping over 160,000 other members of the Armed Forces Family including dependants and veterans.

The Royal British Legion's 2010 Poppy Appeal, which is targeting support for the injured and bereaved of Afghanistan, features a poignant poster campaign featuring Emma-Jayne Webster, the fiancee of a young soldier killed in Afghanistan last year, and Gunner Mark Stonelake, a soldier who lost a leg fighting in Afghanistan.