Poppy Appeal stalwart Les Mortimer recognised for decades of fundraising

21 June 2021

A much-loved Stevenage fundraiser has received an award in recognition of his tireless charitable work for the Royal British Legion.

Les Mortimer has been selling poppies for the legion for decades. He started by going from door to door with his wife, Penny, and eventually they became a regular and beloved sight doing charitable work outside Coreys Mill Sainsbury’s.

Year after year, come rain or shine, Les has plied his trade without missing a beat, and even deteriorating health and a global pandemic have been unable to break his stride.

In 2020, the Jubilee Court care home resident turned his hand to the online world with the help of the home's activities team, raising money for the Poppy Appeal through a JustGiving web page.

The page raised over £1,700 in donations, smashing his £500 target.

On Thursday, in recognition of his tireless contribution, Les was surprised by a visit from two Royal British Legion representatives, who awarded him with the Poppy Workers 25 Year Badge by the Royal British Legion’s board of trustees and a framed certificate of appreciation from the Stevenage branch of the charity.

To deliver these awards in person were Poppy Appeal organiser (Stevenage Branch) retired Major Keith Greenough QVRM TD and Pat Jeffery, Royal British Legion treasurer for Stevenage and Hertfordshire County.

Pat Holding, a long-time friend of Les, who he met during his charitable work, also came along.

Les and his wife knocked on Pat’s door one cold and dark evening and were very quickly invited in for a hot cup of tea and refreshments, which was the beginning of a long-lasting friendship.

The 91-year-old said: “This means everything to me, I’ve always supported our military charities and the Royal British Legion has been an important part of my life. I would like to thank everybody for supporting me.”

Over many years, Les has made a significant difference to the lives of others with his tireless charitable work and this award is just one of many moments of recognition that he has received for work he has done - not only for the Royal British Legion, but also a number of other charities including The Red Cross, Blue Cross and the Royal Navy Association.