TIMES may be tough financially but it has not stopped generous residents raising more than £32,000 for Kidderminster's poppy appeal.

Members of the town's Royal British Legion branch have announced the group collected £32,300 during the 2013 fundraising campaign, with some smaller donations still to be counted.

The total beats last year's effort by nearly £300 and will go towards the national collection which supports members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families.

Kidderminster branch campaign manager Dave Sands said: "I wish to thank the people of Kidderminster for their generosity during the 2013 campaign and also thanks to the out-of-town shoppers who also donated to this appeal when they came into town to the Kidderminster stores.

"Thank you to the many shops and businesses in the town who kindly allowed us to place the boxes of poppies and collecting tins on their property. Thirdly, I would like to thank the volunteer collectors who manned the static collection points throughout the town for their time, your help was invaluable.

"The amount collected has totalled £32,300 so far with some small amounts still to come, a tremendous achievement on the part of everyone both those who donated money so generously and the volunteers."

Labour Wyre Forest district councillor Nigel Knowles, who, along with Conservative councillor Nicky Gale, is the district's armed forces champion, praised the efforts of members of the public.

He said: "I think the RBL is to be congratulated as are the public of Wyre Forest, it has been a fantastic effort and the effort and response from the public has been great.

"Times are tough financially but I still saw a lot of people giving to the campaign. There is an emphasis on the need to provide welfare and accommodation for active service personnel and those who have served and come out of the armed forces there is a need to find them jobs and a home and the money partly goes to that.

"They have raised a great amount and I think next November will also be another great opportunity to raise money for the Royal British Legion. I am amazed at how much people are able to give.

Anyone interested in volunteering with the RBL's Kidderminster branch should contact president Larry Billingsley on 01562 741532.