I am not sure that this photograph has any particular interest. It shows my grandfather, then Chairman of the UDC, introducing Lady Burnham, patron of the Red Cross in Buckinghamshire. The date is August 28th 1943 and the Red Cross Appeal is being formally announced. Volunteers in those day collected door-to-door using tins with a coin slot. Since my grandmother and mother were active in organizing this appeal I have some sense of the scale of the operation. At the end of the week volunteers brought in hundreds of tins, usually full to the brim with coins. The seal at the base was then broken and the metal catch opened to release the coins, mostly pennies and ha’pennies, threepenny bits, some sixpences and a few shillings. All of these were sorted and counted on the front room table.
I think it is true to say that there were relatively few charities in those days. The two big collections were for the Haig Fund before November 11th and the Red Cross Appeal in August. The RNLI and the National Institute for the Blind had cllections, but they were never as big as the first two. Some charities would leave collection boxes in pubs and the Salvation Army collected every week, I think.
My grandfather noted on the back of the photo that this was at the Market Hall. Probably the platform was set up in the yard facing the Royal Engineers.