40,000 thanks for a Poppy record break

Anne Halsall of  Lytham Soroptimists International of the Fylde presents a cheque for �1055.00 to Lytham and St Annes Poppy Appeal organiser Spencer Leader (left) and assistant Poppy organiser, Albert Cooper.
Anne Halsall of Lytham Soroptimists International of the Fylde presents a cheque for �1055.00 to Lytham and St Annes Poppy Appeal organiser Spencer Leader (left) and assistant Poppy organiser, Albert Cooper.

Forty thousand thanks to you wonderful people for your generosity!

That’s the call from Fylde officials of the Royal British Legion, whose poppy appeal in Lytham and St Annes has defied the odds to again set a new record.

The 2015 total is £40,055, particularly delighting stalwart appeal leaders.

Organiser Spencer Leader and colleagues felt the long-standing trend of a fresh record being set each year might stall this year after an especially hefty total was achieved 12 months ago.

The 2014 tally of £38,000 was £5,000 better than 12 months earlier after a concerted show of support by the public in the year which marked the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

But as a contribution if £1,055 by members of Soroptimist International of the Fylde, whose knitted poppies for sale have quickly become a Fylde tradition, took the total over the £40,000 mark,

Spencer was quick to express his delight and gratitude for another record year.

He said: “It’s wonderful. Our thanks to everyone who contributed and to our dedicated bands of collectors for their dedication.

“The Legion spends nearly £1.4m a week delivering health and welfare support and this money allows for the provision of practical support and advice to service personnel past and present and their families.”

Spencer, 78, who is president of the St Annes branch of the RBL, is known as the Poppy Man after leading the appeal locally since 1978 when the total collected was just £440.

He added: “Thanks also to the Mayor and Mayoress of Fylde who turned out for every event we asked of them, whatever the weather and to the ladies of Soroptomist International of the Fylde who yet again made such a wonderful contribution with their own unique way of knitting poppies that were sold for the appeal.

“The work starts now preparing for the 2016 appeal and with the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, it will be a particularly notable year.”