POPPY donations reached record highs as fundraisers beat the previous total by topping £45,000.
Sales of poppies in Hartlepool last year raised a whopping £45,768, beating the previous year’s total of £44,000 by more than £1,700.
Town fundraiser Sian Cameron, 29, said she is delighted by the sum and praised the generous attitude of people in town who are facing tough economic conditions.
The figure represents the sale of more than 50,000 individual poppies in the town and news of the record-breaking sales drive has drawn praise from the Royal British Legion, which last year celebrated its 90th anniversary.
Andrew Drake, the Legion’s county manager for the North-East, said: “Once again, it is the generosity of the people of Hartlepool that has seen the town break the record.
“Hartlepool folk have a strong bond with the Armed Forces and the town is a strong recruiting area for them.”
Mr Drake also praised the hard work and dedication of Hartlepool Poppy Sales Organiser Sian Cameron and her team of volunteers and also the local media, including the Hartlepool Mail, which he said had kept the poppy sales drive in the public eye and helped to push up takings.
Delighted Sian said: “I’m absolutely over the moon that we’ve broken the record for the second year running, and that we’ve broken it by such a huge amount.
“It’s fantastic and it’s all down to the generosity of the people of Hartlepool, who just kept giving and giving.
“But I must admit that I am surprised at the total amount.
“It’s far more than I thought we’d raise, what with people struggling so much at the moment and the media constantly full of doom and gloom about the recession.”
Sian, who took over the role at short notice in 2010 following the unexpected death of her dad Ian, added: “Poppy season just brings out the best in people.
“The really touching thing is that I’ve had people come up to me and say “your dad would have been proud of you” and when I think of the time and effort dad put in that really does bring a lump to my throat.
“People in Hartlepool just really seem to support the cause of the Royal British Legion and the work it does and they show that support in the form of donations.”
Sian praised her army of around 50 volunteers who stand in shops and on street corners to sell the poppies, saying: “We simply couldn’t do what we do without the volunteers who generously give up their time to get the poppies out there and bring the donations back.”