THREE fund-raisers have been recognised for their efforts during last year’s Poppy Appeal.
Sam Brown, Connie Butt and Brian Hughes helped the Henley and Peppard branch of the Royal British Legion to raise more than £32,000.
The trio were presented with certificates by the branch at Henley town hall last week.
The branch was presented with the Goadby Cup at the Legion’s Oxfordshire county conference in January for achieving the highest percentage increase in money raised compared with the previous year.
Mr Hughes, 81, of Harpsden Road, Henley, has collected more than £48,000 for the Legion in 19 years, including £3,090 during last year’s appeal. He has also been county standard bearer for 10 years. Mr Hughes, who served in the Royal Army Service Corps in Egypt in the Fifties, said: “I started collecting in 1995, so this coming year will be my 20th.
“Back then the Poppy Appeal advertised for volunteers and I took two days off my job as an electrician to do it. I got £600 that year and it just mushroomed after that.
“I really enjoy meeting people and over the years people have come to expect me. As soon as they open the door and see me they rush to get their bags or wallets, I don’t even have to say anything.
“It’s nice to be recognised with this certificate and it makes it all worthwhile.”
Mrs Brown, 49, a professional musician from Sonning Common, has launched the appeal for the last two years with her ukelele band.
Last year, she arranged for more than 40 players from the International Ukelele Club of Sonning Common, the People’s Ukelele Brigade and the Jumping Flea Club to play for five hours in Henley market place.
She said: “It’s very nice to be recognised but it’s not just for me, it’s for all the people who came together to play. We had about 20 players in the first year and last year must have been double that. We would love to do it again this year.”
Ms Butt, 70, who lives in Riverside, served for the RAF in the Sixties and has organised Second World War-themed dances at the town hall for the past two years.
She said: “I’ve been involved in the Poppy Appeal since 1995, when I organised a VE Day celebration on Henley Bridge. I collect every year but this certificate is to recognise the dances I’ve held at the hall. I’m very pleased to be recognised.”
Poppy appeal organiser Shirley Lees said: “When we won the Goadby Cup we wanted to recognise the people who had contributed the most to it. We are most grateful to Sam, Connie and Brian for all their invaluable help.
“The success was due to their efforts and some generous individual donations but also to every individual who gives whatever they can afford. Every donation counts. We are so grateful for the generosity of the people of Henley.”
Branch chairman John Green added: “These three individuals made significant contributions to our success and we wanted to specially thank them for their efforts. The number one mover and shaker has been Shirley herself — without her none of this could have happened.”