Poppy power keeps Kathleen going

Spalding poppy rota organiser 90-year-old Kathleen Barsley.
Spalding poppy rota organiser 90-year-old Kathleen Barsley.
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A 90-year-old Spalding woman is proving she still has enough flower power to organise her volunteer army of Poppy Appeal collectors.

Kathleen Barsley has been involved in the town’s annual Poppy Appeal as long as her daughter, Cheryl Arnold, can remember.

Poppy collection volunteers at Bakkavor in Spalding ready to launch the appeal at the factory. They are (back row) Iris Wilson, Roy Cooper, Eddie Moss, Jenny Hewitt and  Janet Morris: and (front)Steve Scholes. The volunteers also  help with the delivery of 400 boxes around town.  Photo (TIM WILSON):  SG241013-TW

Poppy collection volunteers at Bakkavor in Spalding ready to launch the appeal at the factory. They are (back row) Iris Wilson, Roy Cooper, Eddie Moss, Jenny Hewitt and Janet Morris: and (front)Steve Scholes. The volunteers also help with the delivery of 400 boxes around town. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG241013-TW

Mrs Arnold said: “I can remember going door to door with mum in the 1960s and she’s been involved ever since.

“Her father and brother were in the Lincolnshire Regiment so it’s been a cause close to her heart.

“The older generation can remember the boys going off and not coming back – it makes it more special for them.”

Last year, the appeal in the Spalding area raised more than £22,622.

Mrs Barsley, of Pennygate, said: “People are so generous. The volunteers do a tremendous job. I love being part of it.”

During Remembrance tide – the period before the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – Mrs Barsley has been busy organising rotas for 33 volunteers who will be collecting at Sainbury’s and another team at Baytree Nurseries Garden Centre at Weston.

Volunteers will be at these locations every day for two weeks and then Mrs Barsley helps with the mammoth task of helping to count the money in the tins.

Mrs Arnold said: “She writes ‘thank you’ cards to everyone who helps and even insists on delivering as many of them as she can. I’m really proud of her.”

Remembrance weekend starts on Saturday, November 9, when there will be a service and the Last Post at the war graves in Spalding Cemetery.

This year the Polish community has been invited and their vicar will taking part in the ceremony.

On the Sunday, there will be a procession from the market place at 10.30am followed by a ceremony at Ayscoughfee Hall near the cenotaph and on Monday, November 11, wreaths will be laid at the memorial tree in Springfields to mark the 11th hour.

Although Mrs Barsley isn’t planning to hang up her collection boxes yet, there is hope the appeal will be just as successful in the future.

Mrs Arnold said: “Of course, the youngsters will carry on because they see our boys not coming home from Afghanistan and Iraq.”