A former Sheffield railway ticket officer who has raised around £150,000 for the Royal British Legion is full steam ahead for next year’s Poppy Appeal, despite retiring.
Ron Wiltshire, who lives in Wincobank, was awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours for his sterling charity work.
The 63-year-old said he was overjoyed with the honour, which has been granted for his work selling poppies to railway passengers up and down the country.
Despite retiring in October, Ron said he has no plans to give up on his fundraising and hopes to raise £15,000 for the Poppy Appeal in 2016 by selling special commemorative badges on eBay.
He said: “It is around £150,000 that I have raised. It is only over a few years and it has been hard work.
“I retired at the end of October, so this year I just sold badges on eBay and raised just over £10,000 so it was still worth doing.
“My target for 2016 is £15,000.”
Ron added: “I kept saying I was going to stop, I’ve said it for the last three years but then something comes up on TV about that armed forces or you see somebody who has lost a limb.
“Although I think I will stop, this will be my last year, I keep doing it!”
Ron has been collecting money for the Poppy Appeal for the past decade after surviving a heart attack in 2005 and deciding he wanted to give something back to charity. Each year he would take a fortnight off from his job in the ticket office at Chesterfield railway station for East Midlands Trains to travel on the company’s services selling poppies.
In 2014, Ron also sold special commemorative metal poppy badges to mark the centenary of the start of World War I.
Ron said he was both proud and surprised to have been included on the New Year’s Honours list.
“I’m still on cloud nine,” he said. “I found out about the last week in November when I got a letter through the post. It was unbelievable – I kept reading it and reading it, thinking ‘Is this true?’
“I was very surprised, it is fantastic and I have no idea who nominated me.
“It is hard to put into words how I felt.”
He said he had been bursting to be allowed to tell people when the honours list was made public on the night of December 30.Ron said he has been in-undated with messages of congratulations since the news became public.
He said he could not have managed to raise so much money without having great support from many people, particularly his wife Margaret.
“I couldn’t have done it without everybody’s help,” he said.
“My wife has put up with me all this time and helped me straighten out poppies for hours and hours at home.
“She runs everything for me and does me a packed lunch when I go on the trains. I couldn’t have done it without her.”
He said the couple had bought a bottle of champagne to open on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the award of the British Empire Medal.