Remembrance: Veteran poppy seller inspired by his army past
PUBLISHED: 15:00 09 November 2017 | UPDATED: 19:30 12 November 2017
Mick Mellor is one of the Elm Park Royal British Legion's valued collectors.
The 81-year-old is a long-time member and an ex-serviceman, who spends 10 days collecting for the appeal at Elm Park station, from 5-9am.
“It’s my seventh year,” he said. “I retired when I was 74 and hadn’t done it prior to that, so thought therefore it would be something for me to do, and also to help the British Legion and Poppy Appeal.
“I have been a member of the legion for about 25 years, I was in the Royal Fusiliers when I was in the army. In 1952 I went in – to ‘54 or ‘55 – with the colours, and I was with the reserves for five years.”
Mick trained at the Tower of London, and his first posting was to Khartoum, Sudan, for two years. He then “came back and went to the Suez Crisis”.
He would have served for even longer had he not made the acquaintance of his late wife Margaret.
“If I hadn’t met the wife I would have signed on, I met the wife when I was on demob leave.”
Selling poppies in the early morning means meeting a variety of people, from commuters to schoolchildren. And many now recognise Mick.
“People keep saying to me, ‘You’re here again?’
“What is surprising is the public’s very good at giving donations, and I’m talking about all walks of life.
“The children come through, and put the sticker poppies on, and the following year they’re looking to have another one, so it’s carrying it on.
“It’s surprising how many youngsters put in [for] poppies, it’s good to see actually.”
The veteran came into this year’s appeal with the knowledge that he’d really pulled it out of the bag in 2016.
“I think I was up to £4,000 last year. It was great, Joanne actually said I was the highest single collector last year so that was nice.”
On Saturday Mick will attend the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall, which until now he has only watched on television.
He is proud to support the Elm Park Legion.
“I think if you’ve been in the forces you recognise what people are doing for other people,” he added.