Newham’s 92-year-old poppy seller stresses importance of Remembrance Day

Daniel Kovacs, left, with Rose Powers

Daniel Kovacs, left, with Rose Powers - Credit: Archant

Round about the time Britain last held a referendum on the European Union, Rose Powers was just starting out as a poppy seller.

LAC James Lighten, right, with other sailors from HMS Collingwood who have been selling poppies in S

LAC James Lighten, right, with other sailors from HMS Collingwood who have been selling poppies in Stratford station - Credit: Archant

The 92-year-old Royal British Legion volunteer, who lives in Plaistow’s Plashet Road, has been manning a stall in the build up to Remembrance Day for more than 40 years – but remains as passionate about honouring members of the Armed Forces as she ever was.

“It means a lot to me,” said Rose, who dug up potatoes for the Land Army in 1941.

“We went through the war – a lot of us lost family.”

Rose is one figure in the mammoth effort undertaken by the legion to raise money to help former, and current, military personnel.

Rose Powers, 92, who has been selling poppies for 40 years

Rose Powers, 92, who has been selling poppies for 40 years - Credit: Archant

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This year, the charity hopes to highlight younger generations – both as volunteers and veterans.

“It’s very important to teach the young people about Remembrance – they should learn it in schools,” said Rose, who volunteers from early morning to 2pm.

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“When us old folks are gone, there’ll be no one left to sell the poppies.”

She added: “The history needs to be carried on through the youngsters – a lot of them don’t seem to know what we fought for.”

One such youngster is 20-year-old Daniel Kovas, a former Cumberland School pupil from Plaistow, whose first day selling poppies was on Thursday.

“I’m really nervous,” he said. “But Rose is amazing.”

Daniel, who is soon to begin his career as a policeman based in Kent, said more people his age should show an interest in Remembrance Day.

“A lot of people in schools will have poppies, but I think more should get involved in volunteering,” he said.

“My grandfather did National Service and I’m really proud of him, so that’s why I wanted to do this.”

Residents across the borough will remember the fallen and honour serving Armed Forces members on Friday – Armistice Day – and Sunday.

Mayor Sir Robin Wales, who will attend ceremonies at Central Park Cenotaph in East Ham on both days, is one of them.

“It’s right and proper we continue to commemorate the contribution of everyone who has given their lives in the two world wars and in all conflicts around the world,” he said.

Friday’s service runs from 10.45am to 11.30am, while Sunday’s – which is preceded by a parade from Newham Town Hall to the cenotaph – starts at 10.30am. Three other services on Sunday – all beginning at 10.45am – will be held at All Saints West Ham Parish Church, Brick Lane Music Hall and St Luke’s Memorial in Canning Town.

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