Readers to rescue in Poppy cash crisis

HE'S SMILING AGAIN: Spalding Poppy Appeal organiser Peter Lyon. SG160914-141TW
HE'S SMILING AGAIN: Spalding Poppy Appeal organiser Peter Lyon. SG160914-141TW
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Magnificent Spalding Guardian readers are the heroes of the hour as they stepped in to save the Poppy Appeal from losing thousands of pounds.

We revealed Spalding’s 2014 Poppy Appeal was in crisis and may lose around £7,300 of the £24,000-plus it collects because there was no one to deliver boxes of poppies and collecting cans to shops and businesses.

We asked for local heroes to come to the rescue – and you turned Poppy Appeal organiser Peter Lyon’s phone red hot with offers of help.

Twelve teams of two and Baytree Garden Centre at Weston have volunteered their services.

Peter said: “I think it’s absolutely wonderful.”

We pictured Peter looking downhearted as the Poppy Appeal plunged into “it’s worst crisis for five years” and challenged you to put a smile back on his face by volunteering.

Peter said: “I think they are wonderful human beings. Not only have they put a smile back on my face, they are doing something for the people who have made sacrifices for their country.”

The Poppy Appeal helps ex-service people and their families in all sorts of ways, including providing mobility aids like wheelchairs for the injured.

Peter praised the volunteers who rescued the 400 scheduled deliveries to shops and businesses and said: “These people can be really proud of what they are going to do – they are giving back to those who gave an awful lot for their country.

“Even if they didn’t get injured, they made sacrifices just by being away from their family and not watching their children grow up.”

Among the 12 teams of volunteers are four teams from Bakkavor and there’s extra help from Baytree, with general manager Nigel Wallis offering help with deliveries of boxes of poppies and collecting cans to some of Spalding’s more outlying villages.

Nigel said: “My brother-in-law Cameron Whitworth is ex-Army and we have always supported the Royal British Legion with their collections here. I saw Peter in the paper and thought the old boy is struggling and we could help.”

There’s still time to volunteer to help with the deliveries and more local heroes are needed during Remembrance Tide, which runs from October 25 to November 5.

Collections are running at Sainsbury’s, Baytree and Springfields Retail Outlet for the whole of that period and it’s difficult for The Royal British Legion’s mostly elderly membership to cover all of the hours.

Peter said: “If anyone can spare us even half an hour and collect £5 that would be £5 we wouldn’t otherwise have.”

To volunteer a little of your spare time please call Peter on 01406 373669.