Poppy stalwart remembered by Legion award

Just Regional
Mar 25, 2024 2 mins read

A tireless Poppy Appeal organiser and fundraiser has been given a posthumous award by the Royal British Legion.
Carole Matthews was involved with the Aylsham Legion branch for around 40 years, 36 as treasurer, then taking over the reins of the Poppy Appeal in 2008.
She died in September 2023, aged 77, having helped raise an estimated £250,000 for the appeal during her 15 years at the helm.
At the recent county conference of the Legion, Carole was awarded the Carter Trophy fundraiser of the year accolade.
County chairman and Aylsham Legion colleague Paul “Smudge” Smith said the award was not given out annually, only when someone went the extra mile, which Carole did year in and year out.
Carole not only ran the Poppy Appeal, but staffed the Legion branch stall at the Aylsham Show and ran a pop-up stall in the Market Place.
As well as heading a team which raised £22,000 for the Poppy Appeal the previous year, Carole’s other fundraising efforts generated a further £25,000 for branch general funds, said Smudge.
He added: “Carole’s contribution to the Legion epitomised ‘Service not Self’. She was a fantastic role model who was respected by everyone who came into contact with her.”
Carole’s daughters Sharon and Louise attended the event, having been told their mum was going to be mentioned, but the award was a complete surprise to them.  Sharon collected the award from county RBL president Lieutenant General Johnathan Page
”There were a few tears, myself included,” said Smudge. He added the posthumous award was fully deserved by Carole, who left “big boots to fill” for new Poppy Appeal organiser Derek Tomkinson.
The county conference was attended by 80 members and guests representing the 60 branches in Norfolk. VIP guests included Norfolk County Council chairman Barry Stone, and the Armed Forces Commissioner for Norfolk Air Commodore Kevin Pellatt.

TOGETHER: Aylsham representatives at the conference: (L-R) Louise, Carole’s daughter; Derek Tomkinson, branch member and county committee member; Smudge Smith, branch member and county chairman; Gary Moore, Aylsham branch chairman and standard bearer; Martin Skoyles, branch member; Paul McGrath, branch vice-chairman; Sharon, Carole’s daughter. Picture: BRIAN BANDY

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