No poppy appeal in Essex village

THEY paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives so we could lead ours in peace.But in the year when eight Colchester soldiers died in the Gulf, an Essex village will not be remembering its war dead.

THEY paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave their lives so we could lead ours in peace.

But in the year when eight Colchester soldiers died in the Gulf, an Essex village will not be remembering its war dead.

The decades-old poppy appeal in the country's largest village of Tiptree will not go ahead this November because people say they cannot provide their time to help.

Currently there is no village vicar, so the traditional Remembrance Day service will not be held either.


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Don Wyley, of Tolleshunt Knights, has organised the 9,000-strong village appeal for the past three years, which last year raised £3,500.

But when his wife died a few months ago, the 77-year-old told Tiptree Parish Council and the Royal British Legion he felt he could no longer do it.

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A former serviceman with the Suffolk Regiment, he said he found the decision difficult, but hoped a replacement would be found to order wreaths, collect money and send back returns.

But now, with the parish council confirming it has not been able to find volunteers, he has expressed his sadness.

He said: "I'd been trying to get other people to help me for a couple of years, but no one really seemed that willing. It's a very special occasion – we used to have a ceremony at the war memorial and a parade to St Luke's church in the village, but it seems that won't happen any more.

"I'm just surprised and sad that people can't do anything. I don't want to sound too old, but people don't seem to have a sense of duty or responsibility any more. All you need is three people.

"If young people do not come forward then I can see the poppy appeal dying off in 20 years."

Eric Seymour, Essex poppy appeal county co-ordinator, who received an MBE earlier this year for his fundraising work, last night said: "I find the whole thing a little bit disturbing. They've always had a separate appeal in Tiptree and it's a shame no one can come forward and help.

"But there's still time for people to volunteer their time."

Tiptree parish councillor Tony Webb called the situation a "disgrace".

He said: "We've all known about this for months. It's been raised at council, but nothing has been done. We need volunteers.

"There are 14 councillors, but we all lead busy lives and have many commitments – we just need someone with the time to spare.

"We've advertised on notice boards and asked the scouts, but I think it's probably too late this year. We must try getting something in place for next time."

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