COME wind or rain, poppy seller Anne Hallows has taken to the streets of Chester every year since 1947 to raise funds for the Royal British Legion.
And, as she prepares for her 64th and final year of volunteering, Anne’s dedication has earned her a nomination for a Your Champions award in the volunteer category.
“It’s been part of my life for so long,” said 88-year-old Anne, of Virginia Drive, Blacon.
Anne began selling poppies with husband Jim shortly after she left the WAF (Women in the Air Force).
The couple were volunteered by Jim’s mother Charlotte, who was supported by the Legion after losing two sons, John and Richard, in the Second World War.
Anne said: “Her son was shot down on November 11, so she was keen. She just said ‘I’ll put your names down’.
“That meant a lot to me – to carry on doing the poppies when he had lost two brothers.”
Anne and Jim met during the war – while Jim was preparing to serve in Burma with the RAF – and married in August 1947.
For the next six decades, the pair turned out every year without fail in the run-up to Remembrance Day, raising thousands for the Legion.
James, who served for many years as Chester’s Poppy Appeal organiser – was made an MBE in 1997 for his charity work.
“People used to call him ‘poppy man’,” said Anne.
In 2007 the couple were presented with a Legion award by then Lord Mayor of Chester, Cllr Jim Latham, himself a Second World War Spitfire pilot.
Sadly, James passed away in 2008. Anne has kept up the couple’s cause ever since, but has decided to hang up her poppy tray after this year.
She added: “I’m officially going to finish. I’m 88. I have got to give it up some time. I hope the young ones can come forward and keep it going.”
To follow in Anne’s footsteps and volunteer for the Poppy Appeal, or to make a donation, visit www.poppy.org.uk.