First poppy of 2019 Leeds appeal presented to 100-year-old land worker

A 100-year-old who worked the land during the war effort in Yorkshire was presented with the first poppy of this year's appeal by the Lord Mayor of Leeds.

Saturday, 26th October 2019, 6:00 am

Joy Tomlinson, was one of three guests of honour at a launch event in Leeds Kirkgate Market yesterday.

It was attended by various branches of the Leeds Royal Bristish Legion as well as dignitaries and members of the public.

Coun Eileen Wilson presented the poppy to Mrs Tomlinson following a moving service of events which included a parade of flags by standard bearers and a playing of The Last Post.

The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Coun Eileen Wilson presents the first poppy of the 2019 appeal to Joy Tomlinson, aged 100.

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Coun Wilson said: "Each day our armed services provide an incredible service for our city in all kinds of ways, many we don't necessary see but all impact on our lives".

Before the ceremony Joy, who lives at Abbeyfield The Dales Residential Home in Skipton, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "I am pleased to come and say that I did my little bit."

Originally from Staffordshire, she met her first husband, Ernest Waddilove, while on holiday in Morecambe and moved to Skipton. She recalled how they both stayed at home during the war effort. She worked the land and he worked at Nicholas Smith’s Garage in Skipton fixing the vehicles and tanks that were used in the war before he went back out to volunteer with the Home Guard after tea.

Joy said: "I remember being with the men in the fields digging. I was glad to be able to do something to help. There were other girls in suits but I was in my ordinary clothes. Those liked to show off, you got all kinds. The vehicles went to the garage and went down south to the ships."

A piper plays at the launch of the 2019 Poppy Appeal in Leeds Kirkgate Market.

During the launch service yesterday, Joy could be seen wiping a tear away but said the younger generation should be reminded of helping each other rather than the war.

She added: "I don't think they ought to be too reminded of the war but they should be made to be helpful."

Jeff Gantschuk, chairman of the Royal British Legion Leeds group, said that last year the city raised more than half a million pounds - a 7.6 per cent increase on the year before.Certificates were also presented to the branches that had made the most increases in poppy sales last year compared to 2017.

Barwick-in-Scholes raised £13, 423.48 (50 per cent increase); Collingham and District raised £6, 917 (49 per cent increase) and the Morley branch made £56, 748.12. Special thanks were also given to Duncan Ridyard for helping Armley raise £10,000.

Standard bearers take part in the ceremony.

Celebrity

Earlier this week comedian Eddie Izzard joined forces with poppy collectors in Leeds to launch the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal. He is is one of a number of famous faces from the world of music and entertainment who have undertaken a special mission to launch The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal 2019.

He said: "I’m delighted to be taking part in The Royal British Legion and GCHQ’s ‘Operation Poppy’ to help shine a spotlight on the 40,000 dedicated Poppy Appeal collectors who work so hard to raise money each year."