A dedicated husband-and-wife team leading the local Poppy Appeal is again hoping to recruit an army of volunteers in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.
Mary Walker and Tom Phillips raised an impressive £44,000 last year after being given empty office space by Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
“We started with 10 volunteers and ended up with 62 last year,” Mary said.
“The council has given us the shop frontage in King Street again which was absolutely brilliant last year. People walked by and knew where we were and could see we were asking for volunteers and donations. It was amazing.”
The pair hope their headquarters at 181 King Street – which recently served as Hammersmith’s temporary library – will help them sell an equally impressive number of poppies this year.
After last year, Mary, who is 68, and Tom, 78, know it will be a big job but both are always up for the challenge. Tom’s varied career has included 14 years in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm. He was later involved in setting up the first land-based marina in Bahrain, where he met Mary in 1978 when she was working in an admin role for a global business.
They married soon afterwards and enjoyed an adventurous life overseas and in the UK, ultimately settling in H&F off North End Road.
The couple is now working hard to persuade volunteers in Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush to distribute poppies, collect donations and count the takings, which will go towards the Royal British Legion’s welfare work within the armed forces.
“These people joined the services and go out on our behalf to protect us. I feel we should give them every support,” she said.
“It affects all of us, the whole country and I think everyone wants to reward them for what they’re doing for us.
“Plus it’s great fun, it’s a laugh a minute with volunteers of all ages all working together. It’s a terrific social thing.
“I broke my pelvis a couple of months ago and thought I wouldn’t be able to do it. I’m so glad we can; we love it.”
This year the volunteers will also be selling poppies at QPR for Poppy Day on Saturday 7 November.
“Tom and Mary have so much passion and their efforts and that of the other volunteers last year was simply astounding, said Cllr Alan De’Ath, Borough Representative for the Armed Forces.
“The work they do is particularly poignant during this time, as we continue to mark 100 years since the First World War, and I hope residents will join us in supporting the work of the volunteers and the Royal British Legion.
Volunteers can join the team at 181 King Street from Monday now between 10am and 4pm on weekdays.
You can also sign up in Kings Mall in Hammersmith and the West 12 Shopping Centre in Shepherds Bush between October 27 and 30.
Call Mary on 07791 888 142 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.