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Dedicated poppy seller Thelma honoured for 45 years service
A COMMITTED poppy seller has been recognised for 45 years of service.
Dedicated fundraiser Thelma Billen received a special certificate and medal in recognition of her years of service in her home village of Toller Porcorum.
As she prepares to head out on her beat for a 46th year, she was joined by the Royal British Legion’s community fundraiser for Dorset Ian Jarvis and the local poppy appeal officer Rob Curtis, as well as family and fellow collectors.
Thelma, who has lived in the village for 59 years, says she gets great joy out of taking part in the appeal every year and people in the community had come to expect her every year.
She said: “I was very pleased to get my medal.
“Everybody expects me round every year and say we have been expecting you, they are all very friendly and very nice.”
Star volunteer Thelma, who has regularly been among the top collectors in the area, said she was just proud to play a part in the hugely successful poppy appeal.
She added that she had taken on the poppy appeal in the village nearly half a century ago when nobody else had wanted to do it and the joy she has derived from it meant she had just carried on year after year.
Thelma said: “I just enjoy doing it. I do very well and everyone is very pleasant.”
Mr Curtis, who co-ordinates the area of Maiden Newton and surrounding villages including Toller Porcorum, said it was dedicated volunteers like Thelma who made the poppy appeal so successful.
He said: “This was all about the Royal British Legion really saying thank you to Thelma for all her years of service.
“In the area that I run we have increased the take every year and with Thelma’s help we continue to collect more money each year in succession.”
Mr Curtis added: “Hopefully she’s going to make it to 50 years.” Thelma will be out collecting with her tin again from October 26 and is hoping for generous contributions from her regular customers again this year.
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