Isle Poppy Appeal collector recognised for 50 years’ service to the Royal British Legion

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Five decades of tireless fundraising has earned a charitable Isle pensioner deserved recognition.

Five decades of tireless fundraising has earned a charitable Isle pensioner deserved recognition.

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Jean Marshall, 70, of West Butterwick, was recently awared a 50 years’ service certificate, and medallion, for her efforts on behalf of the Royal British Legion (RBL).

The mum-of-two has raised thousands of pounds over the years for the cause, and the presentation came as a complete shock to her.

She explained how she got involved.

“I started when I was 18-years-old. A lady I worked with when I left college was a poppy collector and she talked me into it.

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“I think it all began because my uncle - well I called him my uncle but he wasn’t really - was in the war and I used to sit and listen to him and he used to get his medals out to show me.

“I was always fascinated.”

Since then she has organised many events including fundraising walks and coffee mornings for the RBL, and has been invited to attend the Royal Albert Hall twice to take part in the service of remembrance.

“I think it’s a very worthy cause and I really enjoy doing it. I’ve met some amazing people over the years.

“I have some excellent supporters in the village, they are always there when I have dos. I couldn’t raise half as much as I do without people’s support.”

And Jean has turned it into a family affair, roping in her daughter, 35-year-old Helen Sharp and son-in-law Ben. Helen has previously completed the London Marathon in aid of the RBL. She also has the help of 37-year-old son Ian.

And Jean’s mum Mary Baines, who sadly passed away aged 99 last year, also helped out until she was 98-years-old.

Jean added: “The modern Royal British Legion has evolved so much. We really need to keep fundraising. We need to help those who have served in the armed forces in recent times, and not just in the World Wars.

“The war veterans have given us the freedom we have today and we owe them a favour. We wouldn’t be where we are today if it wasn’t for them.”

Elsewhere in the Isle, as part of the 2016 Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal, the Epworth branch decided to hold a Poppy Ball in a hangar at Robin Hood Airport, formally RAF Finningley, under the shadow of a Vulcan Bomber.

Tables were sold at a very speedy rate and 385 guests gathered on the night. Dress was formal and ladies were asked to try to reflect the colours of the poppy in their apparel.

Entertainment was provided by Room 21 Big Band and The Army Cadet Corps of Drums.

Branch secretary Steve Croot said: “After an opening introduction by Epworth chairman Ron Oldfield, The Homage was observed and the entertainment and buffet got under way.

“A raffle was held which raised £1,678.20 and an auction revealed pledges of £345.

“The event was a huge success, that was enjoyed by all who attended, with lots of guests asking if it would be an annual event.”

He gave thanks to Howarth Timbers, Grady’s Printing Limited, The Vulcan Experience, Army Cadet Corps of Drums and Occasions Buffet and Dining Service.

Adding: “A very special thanks to Room 21 who made the Poppy Appeal their annual charity for 2016 so entertained us all for no charge.”