Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Poppy Appeal collectors honoured for long service

THE “lifeblood” of the Nettlebed Poppy Appeal has been honoured.

THE “lifeblood” of the Nettlebed Poppy Appeal has been honoured.

All five collectors have been presented with certificates for decades of dedicated service.

Together, they raised a total of £3,190.78 last year through door-to-door collections in the parish of Nettlebed.

Bob Bishop, 79, of Highmoor Cross, has been collecting donations for 19 years.

He said: “I have always supported the British Legion. I think it is one of those things that is important to do.”

The Royal Navy veteran, who has lived in the village with his wife Lilian, 81, since 1948, said the villagers were “extremely generous”.

“I think they have appreciated all the efforts I have put in,” he said.

David Leah, of Crocker End, has been a collector for 40 years, including 15 years in Nettlebed.

He said: “I used to live in Wokingham and collected there for 40 years and until last year I would go back there to collect even though I had a round here.

“For the last 15 years I have collected for Bix with the Legion. I also do Crocker End, High Street and the green towards Nuffield.”

Mr Leah, 70, who is married to Linda, agreed that residents were generous, adding: “It is not uncommon to see a £10 or £20 note put in the box.

“I am very grateful to be of that age where I never had to fight and avoided National Service. I have led a long and peaceful life thanks to others.” Anne Allaway, 59, who lives in Nettlebed, has been a collector for 10 years.

She said she was approached by the Legion and had no hesitation in accepting, adding: “I would be helping a cause that helps others.”

She said that if she missed anyone on her round, they would quite often drop by her house with donations.

Mrs Allaway, who is married to Malcolm, added: “I feel more than proud that I am a collector — it is all worthwhile.” Barbara Butler has been involved with the Nettlebed Poppy Appeal for almost 25 years, first as a collector and now as secretary.

“I started organising in 1995/6,” she said. “The Legion has always been in my blood. I used to live in Kent where I trained to be a standard bearer. When I moved to Croker End and Catslip the previous organiser retired and asked if I could take over.”

Mrs Butler, who was presented with a bouquet of flowers, says supporting the Legion is important.

She said: “We need this money for those young men who put their lives on the line. We have a lot to thank them for. They keep our shores safe.

“I have always had military men in my family. My uncle was in the navy and we lost him in World War Two — that’s how it started really.”

Her husband David, who took over her collecting round 15 years ago, said: “It is nice getting some recognition for what we do but it is not why we do it.”

Jill Jessup, who also lives in Nettlebed and has been a collector for 15 years, was also present. Jim Bowers, from Maidensgrove, who chairs the Nettlebed branch of the Legion, paid tribute to the collectors.

He said: “These volunteers are the lifeblood of the Legion. Without them it would be pretty hard.

“Our area stretches very far — from Cookley Green to Highmoor and Nuffield. We need all these collectors because of that.”

Mr Bowers, a former serviceman in the Royal Berks regiment, the Rifles, added: “Very little of the money goes into administration so it all goes to where it is needed.

“We are a rural community but we raised in the region of £3,000 — that does take a bit of doing.”

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