Buxton Poppy Appeal fundraiser retires - after raising nearly £160,000 during the WW1 centenary

Retiring poppy appeal organiser Allan Smith
Retiring poppy appeal organiser Allan Smith

Buxton’s Poppy Appeal organiser - who helped to raise nearly £160,000 during the 2014-18 First World War centenary commemorations - is retiring after eight years to ‘relax and enjoy himself’.

Allan Smith, 79, took on the role in 2011 after standing down as commanding officer at Buxton Air Cadets 2517 Squadron.

Father-of-five Allan helped raise more than £33,000 during the closing year of the centenary in 2018 - saying the average raised most years was around £19,000.

Though Allan put a lot of this down to the huge publicity surrounding the 100th anniversary of the Great War, he also acknowledged Buxton people’s generosity.

He said: “We have a lot of people coming to us and saying ‘I have family in the forces’ as they make a donation.

“Considering the size of the town we’ve done really well - but without the help of so many of the town’s people we would not have raised that amount.”

Allan, who has wanted to retire from the role for some time, agreed to stay on for this year’s appeal but is searching for someone to take his place - who he will provide training for.

The former employee at brake parts specialists Ferodo said the right candidate would need to be organised and able to work on their own.

He said: “There’s a lot of work involved - there’s the money box collecting, stock-checking, keeping records and banking money to name just a few jobs.

“It generally takes a few hours a week if you’re organised but it gets intense during the poppy appeal.”

Though Allan is looking forward to retiring he says the job is also very ‘interesting’ and ‘worthwhile’.

He said: “You meet a good cross-section of the town - from young to old.

“And it’s very worthwhile because the money we collect is going to ex-servicemen and their families. It doesn’t only go to the those affected by current or recent conflicts though - it goes to relatives of soldiers who served in the first and second world wars and every war since.”

n If you would like to be the new Poppy Appeal organiser, contact Allan on 01298 27450.