Posted on Jun 1, 2018
The great-grandmother, from London, said collecting had “kept me going all these years” but she was “getting old”. The Royal British Legion said Mrs Powell’s efforts had been “nothing short of phenomenal”.
She is thought to be Britain’s longest serving, and oldest, poppy seller. For the 1921 Poppy Appeal, Mrs Powell said her mother Evelyn had to buy red crepe paper to make her own poppies after they quickly sold out of the originals. “She made these very simple little poppies and we soon sold out again. It was the very first one so it really caught the public’s attention,” she said.
The 103-year-old said war “has had a significant impact on my life”. Her father Charles Ashton James was left wounded after being shot in the head during the Battle of the Somme, and she lost two godfathers and three uncles during World War One. Mrs Powell’s first fiance Robin Ellis, who was a commander in the Royal Navy, died in 1944 when the Lancaster bomber he was flying in crashed. She also lost her younger brother Peter, a major in the Army, during World War Two.