A dedicated Burgess Hill poppy seller has been honoured for 40 years’ service.
Fred Wheatland, an electricity substation inspector at UK Power Networks, won a Community Achievement Award at at More Radio’s Mid Sussex Awards at the South of England Showground in Ardingly on October 12.
The best part about being a poppy seller is hearing people’s stories about loved ones who served in wars.Fred Wheatland
Fred has raised more than £25,000 for war veterans as a volunteer for the annual Poppy Appeal.
He will be starting his annual collection at Tesco in Jane Murray Way in the week beginning November 6.
He said: “I’m very proud to have won this award on behalf of the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.
“In my mind there were others on the night who were more deserving than myself, but I’m so grateful to win an award that will highlight the work of the charity.
“Every November we remember the sacrifices of those who served in World War One and World War Two and all the conflicts since.
“A lot of funds go towards the rehabilitation of those with life-changing injuries and respite for their dedicated carers.
“I willingly give my free time for those who have suffered and those who continue to suffer as a result of conflicts.
“We are here living the life we do thanks to those who fought for us. This is my way of expressing thanks to those who sacrificed so much for us. If nobody had fought for us our country would not be the one it is today.
“The best part about being a poppy seller is hearing people’s stories about loved ones who served in wars. Some bring a lump to my throat when I hear about what their dad or grandad did during the war.
“We have regular visitors who wait for us to visit the superstore, including a man who lost his leg in one of the conflicts.”
A Royal British Legion spokesman added: “People like Fred are at the very heart of our annual fundraising drive, the Poppy Appeal. It simply wouldn’t be possible to organise the appeal without the support of people like Fred, and our army of fundraising volunteers.”