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Poppy appeal launched
FOR decades, they have stood with their collecting tins in the streets of York and gone from house to house, knocking on doors.
Now some of York’s longest serving Poppy Appeal collectors have won recognition for their hard work as the Royal British Legion launched this year’s appeal.
Volunteers were presented with certificates, brooches and badges by the Lord Mayor of York, Coun Julie Gunnell, in a ceremony at the Mansion House yesterday.
The volunteers present included Major John Fitzgerald and his wife Anne, of Heworth, both aged 84, who have been doing door-to-door collections in their neighbourhood for the past 24 years and 12 years respectively.
Mrs Fitzgerald said they went round in pairs nowadays, knocking on the doors of adjacent houses, to ensure they were both unscathed as they walked along slippery footpaths on the dark and wet autumn evenings.
She said many householders recognised her and John and waited for them to call each year before buying a poppy.
Major Fitzgerald, who served with the Royal Norfolk Regiment from 1947 to the 1980s, said he planned to carry on collecting as long as he could.
Other recipients included Ann Mansfield, who has long helped to organise collections at Holy Trinity Church in Heworth and Rosemary Thompson, representing collectors at Christ Church in Stockton Lane.
The appeal has been launched as the country prepares to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War next year.
Denise Edgar, of the Royal British Legion in York, said every poppy sold helped the organisation as it gave direct, practical support to members of the Armed Forces and their families in a variety of ways.
She said it spent £1.6 million every week and answered more than 170,000 calls for help each year.
She hoped the appeal, which continues until November 9, will again raise in excess of £100,000 in the City of York, part of a national target of £37 million.
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