Honiton war veteran in fight to extend poppy collection days.

PUBLISHED: 12:19 28 October 2008 | UPDATED: 22:32 15 June 2010

A WAR veteran and MBE holder has hit out at East Devon District council for limiting poppy collections to two days. Combe Raleigh man Paul Biddle, 53, was outraged by East Devon District Council s response at a time when many soldiers are killed in warfare.

A WAR veteran and MBE holder has hit out at East Devon District council for limiting poppy collections to two days.

Combe Raleigh man Paul Biddle, 53, was outraged by East Devon District Council's response at a time when many soldiers are killed in warfare.

He is fighting for Honiton - a former garrison town - to have a week of collections like those in central England.

Mr Biddle, who served in the army for 15 years and was based in Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, said: "I'm beyond angry. It's not the sort of attitude you would expect when young men and women are serving abroad and getting killed and maimed.

"I have lost some good friends in my service and feel their contribution should be recognised. The money raised is so important so capping it to two days is outrageous and fundamentally wrong.

"It shows a complete lack of understanding about the public perception and feelings. It's that time of year again and we'll be doing nothing for the veterans.

"Lots of people will be wearing their Poppy's but it will be difficult to buy one in East Devon. In a rural community the only chance to pick one up would be in the high street - but there'll be nobody there because the council won't allow it."

Mr Biddle, who served with the parachute regiment, seriously injured himself when his parachute would not open.

He went on to work in the prison service and was later awarded an MBE for his contribution to the national operations unit.

But Royal British Legion Poppy appeal organiser for Honiton, Keith Joslin, felt two days was enough time - especially as there would be difficulty in getting volunteers for any longer.

But he added that Remembrance Day was an important occasion to mark: "We pay our debts to the people who gave their lives for us."

A spokesperson for EDDC said the council had offered Mr Biddle a chance to apply for extra days.

He said: "The council's procedure for dealing with flag-day collections is contained in a policy that has been carefully designed to be fair to all parties - charities and the public."

He said it was necessary for charities to share the time and for members of the public not to be confronted with flag sellers every day of the week.


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Midweek Herald. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Latest from the Midweek Herald