24/10/2012 13:23 BST

Susan Boyle, Pixie Lott And Alesha Dixon Launch Poppy Appeals In England And Scotland (PICTURES)

Susan Boyle was joined by 80 singers from Military Wives Choirs to launch the start of the Scottish Poppy Appeal in Glasgow on Wednesday.

Dressed in a suitably poppy-red hat and coat, Subo declared the appeal open before the West of Scotland and Edinburgh Garrison choir kicked the event off by singing M People's 'Proud'.

Ian McGregor, chief executive of Poppyscotland, told the Scottish Daily Record of the pressures of making sure this year's appeal is the most successful yet.

susan boyle

Susan Boyle launches the Scotland Poppy Appeal in Glasgow

"These are hard times. We know that the Scottish public has been tremendously supportive of our work in the past.

"We know we're asking a lot but we're saying please can we increase that sum because the need is still there. It won't go away.

"We have to be there for the long haul to support the Armed Forces and veterans community in Scotland."

poppy appeal

Susan Boyle was joined by 80 choir singers

On the other side of the border, Alesha Dixon and Pixie Lott spoke of the "absolute honour" of performing at the launch of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

The pair, who are the faces of the Poppy Appeal 2012, were cheered by crowds in Trafalgar Square in London as they headlined a free concert to launch the Legion's annual fundraising drive.

"It is such an honour to be performing here in Trafalgar Square," Lott told the crowds before performing a series of hits including Mama Do and It's All About Tonight.

"Thank you for coming down for such a great cause as the Poppy Appeal.

"It is a privilege to be here," she added.


Alesha Dixon and Pixie Lott launched the poppy festivities in London

Dixon, a Britain's Got Talent judge, said it was an "absolute honour" to perform at the launch event. She joked with the crowds as she performed a series of hits including The Boy Does Nothing and Breathe Slow.

"If it gets really rock 'n roll feel free to jump in the fountains because that always works," she quipped.

The concert featured military bands The Corps of Drums of the 1st Battalion Coldstream Guards, the 1st Battalion Irish Guards and the trumpeters from the Band of the Grenadier Guards.

The appeal's £42 million target is up on the record £40m raised last year.

People wishing to donate can do so at any time online or by text.

pixie lott

Lott's grandfather, 84-year-old Charles Martin, an ex-navy man, was at the event

Poppies will go on sale from Saturday until 11 November at locations across the country including train and tube stations and shopping centres.

The act of observing a two-minute silence each year on 11 November began in 1919 following the Armistice agreement between the Allies and Germany at 11am on 11 November 1918 - the end of the First World War.

The Royal British Legion spends £1.7m a week on care and support for military families, including grants, employment advice and funding, emotional support, tribunal and inquest advice, care homes and family breaks.

Its work includes help for service personnel returning from Afghanistan as well as those from past conflicts.

The Legion is giving £50m over 10 years to support the recovery of wounded, injured and sick service men and women.

The concert also featured the Wattisham Military Wives Choir and James Fox, star of the West End musical Let It Be, who sang the official Poppy Appeal 2012 single Landlocked.

Sapper Clive Smith, 27, of 33 Engineer Regiment, and from Staffordshire, who appears in the Legion's 2012 Poppy Appeal poster, was present at the concert.

He lost both legs while searching for buried bombs at the front of a patrol in Afghanistan in 2010 and was treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham.

"It has been a long road and obviously, it is not without its challenges," he said.

"The Legion have been fantastic over the last two years."