Letchworth poppy appeal organiser’s 40 years of fundraising

A PENSIONER who has raised a quarter of a million pounds for two war-related causes has once again been out collecting for this year’s poppy appeal.

Ray Cole started his fundraising efforts for the Royal British Legion and Royal Artillery Association (RAA) in 1969 and, after amassing more than �250,000 for the two causes, was awarded the RAA’s highest honour, a Gold Award for General Services, earlier this year.

The 76-year-old is only the seventh in 50 years to be presented with the accolade, given in recognition of fundraising and bearing the Gunners’ standard.

The Letchworth GC resident, who served in Maylasia, Cyprus and Egypt, and was the Commanding Officer of the Biggleswade Royal Artillery Cadets for 12 years, has been involved in the town’s poppy appeal for the last 20 years and has been the Letchworth GC poppy organiser for the last seven.

Mr Cole, who lives in Southern Way, said: “This is the 90th anniversary of the British Legion and we’re doing extremely well at the moment.

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“Last year we raised �23,000 and so far we’ve got �16,000 from our appeals in Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Wilkinsons so at the moment we’re up on last year.

“The membership fee covers the cost of the Legion so all the money goes to helping the armed forces and their families. We give �1.2m per to week to those returning from current conflicts so I’d like to thank the people of Letchworth for their support.”

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