ROYAL British Legion Poppy Appeal figures reveal that £410,000 has been raised in the county since October 2013.

The organisation is expected to smash the £420,000 target by the start of the next appeal.

Sue Smart, Head of Regional Fundraising at the Legion, is amazed by the generosity of people across the county.

She said: “We are thrilled at the generosity of the people of Cumbria. It’s a great achievement to say we are on target to smash our £420,000 fundraising target, especially in this poignant year as we commemorate 100 years since Britain entered the First World War.

“Every penny raised will make a huge difference to Service personnel, veterans and their families, from helping a young widow through an inquest to representing injured servicemen in their appeals for compensation. By giving what you can, you’re standing shoulder to shoulder with them.”

Meanwhile, the Royal British Legion team in the North has been bolstered by the appointment of Marcus Hawthorn as the new area manager.

Mr Hawthorn, from Darlington, joins the legion after a spell with Age UK and enjoyed a 30-year career in the Army serving overseas in places such as the Balkans, Germany, Iraq and Oman.

As the organisation’s new Northern Area Manager, the former Colonel is responsible for leading operations in Cumbria, the North East and the Isle of Man.

“I feel very privileged to work for a charity that reaches out to help so many servicemen and women,” said Mr Hawthorn. “As the nation’s leading Armed Forces charity, the legion has been helping service people past and present for over 90 years. We provide £1.6 million every week in direct welfare support – that's over £83 million each year– and respond to over 170,000 calls annually for practical help, advice and support.”