FEATURE: Total of 396 years’ help honoured

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A Poppy Appeal collector for 55 years is among those from the Boston area to be honoured for their dedicated service to the Royal British Legion.

Beryl Reeson, 71, from Freiston, started collecting for the annual appeal at 15-years-old, receiving special dispensation to take on the role when aged under 16.

She retired after the most recent Poppy appeal, covering the patch of Freiston Ings, where she grew up, for 55 years in all.

During that time, the closest Beryl came to missing an appeal was in 2004 when she had surgery for bowel cancer in the October of that year.

She spent eight days in hospital, rather than the anticipated 12, and felt fit enough by the time the appeal opened in the run-up to Armistice Day on November 11 to collect in her home street.

A friend completed the main section of Beryl’s round, but Beryl was still there, accompanying her in the car.

She even collected for the appeal when eight months pregnant in 1969.

Of this dedication, she said: “I think if you take a job on, you give it 100 per cent.”

Beryl was among 18 Poppy Appeal collectors for the Freiston and District branch of the RBL to be honoured at a presentation event recently held by the branch.

Together, they have given 330 years’ service in support of the RBL’s efforts to provide lifelong support for the Armed Forces community.

Poppy Appeal organiser for the branch Mike Knowles paid tribute to their dedication, saying without them the work of the RBL just wouldn’t happen.

There was also an award for the Rev Dick Westland, who stepped down from his third term as president this year, in recognition of 66 years’ service to the branch. A large number of businesses were also honoured for their support.

l Individuals honoured were: Dorothy Barndon, Audrey Clayton, and Ray Robinson (five years); Helen Moore, Ann Quickfall, and Janice Elley (10 years); Carol Aviary, Betty Skipworth, Yvonne Stevenson, Janet Bland, and Martin Bell (15 years); Mandy Trevor, Alan Taylor, and Janet Flynn (20 years); Gina Drury and Pam Bell (30 years); Mavis West (35 years); Beryl Reeson (55 years); the Rev Dick Westland (66 years).

l To become a Poppy Appeal collector for the branch, email sec.rblfreiston@gmail.com or call 01205 761725.