"Poppy Lady" Diane Keogh is a familiar face at our Biggleswade store every year – and as we pause this Remembrance Sunday to honour all those who've sacrificed so much we'd like to say thank you to her and all the other volunteers who do such a fantastic job supporting the Royal British Legion.
Diane, who's 70, started collecting for the Poppy Appeal in 1980 and originally intended to do it for a year – but 42 years on she's still going strong!
She said: "My father, John Foxley who made ammunition during the war, was a strong supporter of the Royal British Legion and sold poppies house to house, but he was taken ill so they asked me if I'd do his round and I said 'for this year only' but it's become the longest year of my life.
"I just carried on and now I'm the Poppy Appeal organiser and the branch chairperson and also the parade organiser too. I enjoy doing it, as it gives me something to do and keeps me occupied.
"I just like helping those people who have fought for us whether they be military or civilians, surprisingly we have more civilians in war zones than we have military.
"A lot of my relations have been military people and I volunteered with our local Sea Cadet group for 23 years too."
Diane, who's a widow and who has three sons and three grandchildren, has been collecting at Asda for 17 years.
She said: "I'm very well known in the town, they call me the Poppy Lady.
"The customers and colleagues at Asda Biggleswade are so lovely and the appeal has done so well; They always give generously. Last year even with the problems with Covid I took just over £18,000 so I'm hoping I can top that this year.
"It's my store for shopping so I knew everyone here quite well. They allow me to put my stall where I want! When I come in to see them before start each year they just say 'what do you want? and 'what do you need us to do?" They are brilliant."
Community champion Jaimie Young said: "It’s always an absolute pleasure to see Diane in store – I can't believe that she's has now been doing it for 42 years. She is one of Biggleswade’s heroes.
"The support for the Poppy Appeal from the community this year has been amazing. Thank you to everyone who has donated."