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Long-serving seller praised as Darlington Poppy Appeal launched
A LONG-SERVING poppy seller has been rewarded for spending 60 years as a tireless volunteer.
Connie Hewitson has been selling the symbols of Remembrance at this time of year, without fail, since she was in her twenties.
The 82-year-old is such a stalwart she even has a loyal band of regular ‘customers’ in her home village of Walworth, near Darlington.
Mrs Hewitson says she hopes to play her part in the annual Poppy Appeal for many more years.
Modestly, she said: “There must be heaps of people like me, who have been selling them for a long time.
“I only sell them in my area, it would not do to encroach onto somebody else’s patch.
“In years gone by, I would go door-to-door selling them, it is different these days.
“You have to catch people when you can, some people get their poppies when they are out, a lot of schools and supermarkets have them.
“But there are those that look out for me with my box of poppies.”
Mrs Hewitson was presented with a brooch in recognition of her years of service, at a ceremony in the village on Wednesday (October 24), along with another long-term seller, Liz Smith.
Darlington mayor Paul Baldwin launched the annual Poppy Appeal in the town on Thursday (October 25), in a ceremony at the Town Hall.
He was joined by members of the Darlington branch of the Royal British Legion (RBL) Coun Baldwin said: “The Poppy Appeal is something that goes all over the country every year and it really says a lot that it is still going strong.
“It is something that means a lot to people for all sorts of reasons.”
Coun Baldwin told the assembled group how he had visited battlefields in Ypres earlier this year, which he described as the most humbling experience of his life.
Funds raised through the Poppy Appeal help serving forces personnel and veterans.
Andrew Wellum, chairman of the Darlington branch of the RBL, said more people would be eligible for help – if only they asked for it.
He said: “Some these people have seen and done things that would make your hair curl and the hardest thing for them to do is pick up the phone to ask for help.”
For more information about the RBL’s services, call 0191-495-9511.