Eileen and Phyllis recognised for 60 years of service to Poppy Appeal
- Credit: Archant
A pair of volunteers have been recognised for 60 years’ service to the Poppy Appeal.
Both Eileen Hodges and Phyllis Hammond recieved accolades for their work - and each said it did not seem like six decades had passed since they first picked up their collection tins.
Sidmouth resident Eileen served in the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) as a stoker and was tasked with ferrying sailors to and from their vessels.
The 91-year-old said: “I think being in the forces helped because I saw ships coming in that had been torpedoed with bodies still hanging in the wreckage. It takes you back and you think about all those things.”
As a former secretary, chairman, Poppy Appeal co-ordinator and president of the Women’s Section, Eileen used to organise concerts to boost the town’s fundraising total.
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She added: “People are very willing and it’s lucky it [the total] goes up each year - and may it continue to do so. People are very generous here in Sidmouth.”
Eileen’s late husband, George, who was an army warrant officer, used to drive her around as she carried out her door-to-door deliveries of poppies.
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“I still go out. I cannot walk, but I still collect outside the Co-op, which is a nice spot. I still have poppies with me and I sit in my buggy. I will go on for as long as I can,” said Eileen.
Phyllis, who also lives in Sidmouth, began collecting at the age of 22, and officially hung up her collecting tin at the end of 2014.
Her late husband, Roy, was an RAF corporal and a former president of their Royal British Legion branch when they lived in Sturminster Newton, Dorset.
After moving to Sidmouth 23 years ago, she would walk her route up to three times to make sure every resident had the opportunity to buy a poppy.
Phyllis, 84, said: “Some people can get missed out if they cannot get out to the shops. It’s still a good thing to have house-to-house as people who are housebound would miss out.
“They died for all of us and it’s for us to help them. It’s a very worthwhile cause.”