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Poppy sellers collect £5,000 in one day in Maidenhead

Royal British Legion volunteers collected more than £5,000 for the first time while selling poppies in the town on Saturday.

Poppy collectors and uniformed sea and air cadets were stationed outside Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Nicholson’s Walk.

It is money that would otherwise not have been raised had the Maidenhead branch not been resurrected in 2008.

It had closed its doors about 20 years ago, not long after the Royal British Legion Club in Bridge Street shut down.

Ray Williams, from Cox Green, was moved to re-establish a Maidenhead branch when he went to a remembrance parade in 2007 and there was no Royal British Legion presence.

He said: “For many years our town had no connection with the legion and had to rely on the goodwill of neighbouring branches to operate a limited Poppy Appeal.”

Ray, 70, started the campaign to start the Maidenhead branch of the club with 10 other ‘would-be members’ when he wrote to the Advertiser in 2008, and has been secretary ever since.

He served in the Merchant Navy for five-and-a half years.

Ray said: “We’re all in it together. We just want to look after people who’ve done so much for us.”

Last year alone the Maidenhead branch of the veterans’ charity raised a total of £50,000 for the appeal, a sum of which it is ‘justly proud’.

There are about 60 members in the Maidenhead Royal British Legion, but Ray would like there to be more.

He said: “All we ask for is people who’ve an interest in looking after people.”

The group holds its meetings in the Conservative Social Club in York Road on the third Thursday of every month and holds some social events annually.

To join contact Ray on 07747 341171.

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