Poppy lady’s 62 years of service

Ada Poole, 84, with her medal from the British Legion.

Ada Poole, 84, with her medal from the British Legion.

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DEDICATED Ada Poole is celebrating devoting more than 60 years to the Royal British Legion.

Known in her home of Easington Lane as the “Poppy Lady”, this year will be Ada’s 63rd helping to organise the village’s Remembrance Day event.

The 84-year-old grandmother was 22 and newly married when she took over the annual task from her mother, Catherine Robson.

Since then, husband Raymond, now 87, oldest daughter Glynis Metcalfe, 60, and grandson Thomas Usher, 17, have all joined in the family fund-raising efforts.

Ada still collects donations on foot around the streets of Easington Lane, along with up to five other collectors, and manages a delivery of more than 2,000 poppies every year, plus three wreaths and numerous crosses.

But her work was not officially recognised until she was invited to a dinner in Durham and by chance spoke with British Legion officials.

On Remembrance Day she proudly wears her 30 years’ long-service medal with its six blue bars for each additional five years, which was awarded to her by Colonel Michael Graham, along with medals won by her father, William Henry Robson, who fought in the First World War and spent time as a prisoner of war in Germany,

Ada, of Tyne Street, also received the Poppy Appeal Award for her tireless efforts from the British Legion’s Northumbria branch.

She said: “I realised my mother had too much work, so I asked if I could do it.

“I was married in the September and I took over in November. Raymond was a foreman on the building sites and he retired aged 72.

“We had a good British Legion and a band and all that, but all of them passed on.

“If I had not taken it on, it would have given up.

“We used to be in with South Hetton, but about 20 years ago we got our own branch.”

Even when husband Raymond, who is losing his sight through diabetes, was in hospital, Ada continued her fund-raising, inspired by British troops on the front line.

“The lads who are fighting for us – that is what kept us going,” she said.

“They need all the support they can get.

“They can’t come in and say we will have a cup of tea. We can any time but they can’t.”