CHARITABLE Poppy Appeal organisers in Cosham have been hailed as the area’s top team after a record-breaking improvement.
Terence Bryant, who is in charge of setting up the town’s annual collection, picked up the prize for the most-improved branch at a top awards do.
Since taking the reins of the team in 2015 with wife Denise, Cosham’s collection has swelled from about £7,000 to a whopping £42,000 last year.
The success earned the branch the coveted ‘Buckingham Shield’, for the highest percentage increase to the Poppy Appeal averaged over the last three years.
Retired Mr Bryant, 62, said: ‘When I got the phone call I just didn’t believe it. I was gobsmacked. We weren’t expecting it at all.
‘Although I went to pick up the award, it really was a team effort – I couldn’t have done this without my volunteers.’
Now, as the city prepares to join the national commemoration marking the centenary of the end of the First World War, Mr Bryant has revealed his next grand ambition.
‘I would like to raise £50,000 for this year’s Poppy Appeal,’ he said.
To do this, he is looking to recruit an army of volunteers from across the Cosham area.
Already on board are the town’s newest army battalion, C Company of the 4th Battalion Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment and its associated army cadet unit.
Mr Bryant’s wife Denise added volunteers were vital in helping to raise money for the Royal British Legion-arranged appeal.
‘If it wasn’t for our volunteers we wouldn’t be able to raise anywhere near as much money,’ she said.
Fundraising is on-going with the team’s first effort of the new year – a collection at Odeon Port Solent – raising £567.96 in a couple of days.
Volunteers can give as little or as much time as they like.
To join, call Sarah Ferris on 07458 126854 or email SFerris@britishlegion.org.uk.