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Kevin the poppy seller retires after 45 years and £45,000 raised





EVERY year for the past 45 years Kevin Latham has dusted off his poppy collection tins and walked around Ettington raising money for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

Ettington poppy seller Kevin Latham, left, has been selling poppies in the village for 45 years, last Saturday seeing him braving the elements outside Ettington Village Store with shop manager Robert Surgenor. Photo: Mark Williamson. (60495038)
Ettington poppy seller Kevin Latham, left, has been selling poppies in the village for 45 years, last Saturday seeing him braving the elements outside Ettington Village Store with shop manager Robert Surgenor. Photo: Mark Williamson. (60495038)

Kevin, aged 77, thinks he’s raised around £45,000 during the past 45 years but this year’s Remembrance will be his last as a poppy seller as he’s decided to step down from his volunteer duties.

“It’s the end of an era,” Kevin said. “I joined the Legion 50 years ago and just cracked on with selling poppies for the last 45 years. I do it for the names on the memorial in the churchyard in Ettington – it’s for them.”

Traditionally, during the fortnight of selling poppies, he can be spotted walking down every road and lane in the village knocking on doors, he will set up his poppy selling table in front of the post office and visit farmers in the area who Keving said were “very generous” with their donations.

Once he’s collected the money he banks it and puts the tins away until the next year. This time round though will be his last and while he’s made the decision partly on health grounds his dedication to the Royal British Legion remains undiminished.

“It’s time now for someone to take over. I have enjoyed it but now it’s all down to me and my wife, Val, who does the paperwork. I am sure if somebody in the village wanted to do it then I’m more than happy to pass it on,” Kevin said.

When he joined Ettington branch of the Royal British Legion it had a thriving membership but the branch folded 15 years ago as existing members passed away.

“Ettington, Wellesbourne and Quinton all had strong branches at one time and we used to have our meetings in the Whitehorse in Ettington and then the Houndshill. In our branch there were some brilliant characters and I could have listened to them all day. We had a Spitfire pilot who ended up in Colditz. I was never in the armed forces but I am an associate member of the Legion and I suppose I’m the last man standing now,” said Kevin.

Remembrance services across the Stratford district

Stratford

Friday, 4pm, Evesham Road
Cemetery. Short service and wreath laying at the Commonwealth War Graves.

Friday, 11am, act of remembrance and wreath laying in memory of those who died in the Falklands War at Stratford-upon-Avon Boat Club.

Sunday, 11am, (start 10.55am), Garden of Remembrance, Old Town. Service of remembrance and wreath laying. Following the service, a march past and salute takes place in Church Street.

Sunday, 11am, act of remembrance and wreath laying at Stratford Boat Club, and dedication of a plaque for club’s Victoria Cross holder, Arthur Scarf.

Alcester

Friday, 11am, Royal British Legion will hold an Armistice Day Ceremony at St Nicholas Church Green.

Sunday, 10.30am a Remembrance Day parade, organised by the Alcester Town Council, will make its way up Alcester High Street to St Nicholas Church for wreath laying, a commemoration and service. The parade assembles at Centenary Field off Gas House Lane at 10.30am with the service starting at 10.45am.

Bidford

Friday, 10.45am, there will be a short service and two-minute silence at the war memorial.

Sunday, 9am, meet at Saxon Fields car park for a parade which will leave at 9.20am to march through the village to St Laurence’s Church for a service. After the service the parade will head to the war memorial for the laying of wreaths and two-minute silence.

Henley

Thursday (today), 11am, Henley Royal British Legion will hold a remembrance service for Henley Old Boys at the Old Boys memorial, Stratford Road.

Friday, 11am, a remembrance service will be held at the Market Cross.

Sunday, 9am, a remembrance service at Ullenhall War Memorial.

Sunday, 10.15am, Henley Remembrance Service. Parade from the Memorial Hall to St John’s Church. Parade forms at 10.15am. To join the parade contact Gerald Easton on 07979 949439.

Wootton Wawen

Sunday, 6.30pm, memorial service at St Peter’s Church.

Kineton

Sunday, 10.50am, service at war memorial on Village Green. Church bell tolls at 11am to mark two-minute silence followed by service at St Peter’s Church.

Shipston

Sunday, 10.45am, remembrance parade and service. Gather from 10am in High Street, parade begins at 10.45am.

Snitterfield

Sunday, 10.45am, wreath laying and service at White Horse Hill and Kings Lane, Snitterfield.

Southam

Sunday, 10am, Remembrance Day parade, from Coventry Road, end of Meadow Road, to junction of Market Hill.

Studley

Sunday, 10am-12pm, Remembrance Day parade will pass along Crooks Lane, Toms Town Lane, New Road, Church Street, Alcester Road and High Street.

Wellesbourne

Sunday, 10.40am, a service will be held outside St Peter’s Church around the war memorial. Meet at 10.40am for a 10.45am start. The uniformed organisations will gather in the church car park and parade to the memorial.



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