A POPPY Appeal fundraiser has been thanked for her decades of support to the British Legion.
Fareham area organiser Vicki Hollins, 85, was praised for the hard work, dedication and commitment she has shown over the last 40 years.
She was commended at the launch of the town’s Poppy Appeal campaign at Fareham Shopping Centre yesterday.
Mrs Hollins, a retired businesswoman, has been the Fareham organiser for the last three years.
Last year her area collected a staggering £27,000.
She said: ‘This is the first time I have ever been thanked officially.
‘I can’t find the words to express how I feel.
‘I’m very honoured and so overjoyed – I feel tearful.
‘I am speechless.’
Mrs Hollins was presented with her award from the Mayor of Fareham, Councillor Dennis Steadman and Mayoress Carole Steadman.
Cllr Steadman said: ‘To honour someone like Vicki is such a great privilege.
‘She is absolutely brilliant – 40 years shows real commitment.’
Shoppers at the Fareham centre stood in silence as the bugle played to remember those lost in the First and Second World Wars.
Crowds gathered to honour the occasion as the British Legion presented Fareham Shopping Centre with a thank you for allowing them to collect from two stalls outside Boots for another year.
British Legion’s area community fundraiser, Clare Peppiatt, said she had to keep the award a secret from Mrs Hollins.
‘I found out that Vicki had been collecting for 40 years and that she had never had an award to recognise that,’ she said.
‘I thought that today would be a great opportunity to give Vicki an award as well as thank the shopping centre.
‘I hope it was a good surprise.’
Sylvie Hasson, administrator at Fareham Shopping Centre, added: ‘Vicki is a gem.
‘It is an honour to do anything for her.’
All money raised by the British Legion will go towards supporting the Armed Forces and their families.
The British Legion stall will be in Fareham Shopping Centre every day until Sunday, November 11