Longest-serving poppy-seller Rosemary Powell has died, aged 103

23 August 2018, 16:31

Rosemary Powell
Picture: PA

By Tom Eames

"She had known the cost of war."

Former World War Two nurse Rosemary Powell, who is thought to be Britain's longest-serving poppy seller has died at the age of 103, her family have said.

Rosemary began collecting for the appeal when it was first launched in 1921. She passed away on August 15, nine days after she was awarded an MBE.

The London-born nurse was included on the Honours List for her service to the Royal British Legion.

Her family said: "She had known the cost of war."

The Legion added that it was "forever in debt to Rosemary for her efforts."

Rosemary is survived by three sons, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

"She could recall the London bombing raid on 28 November 1916, and her first meeting with her father when she was four, when he finally returned from active service," her family wrote.

During World War II, she worked as a voluntary aid detachment (VAD) nurse, and treated members of the military. She tended to soldiers wounded on the beaches in Normandy, and her family said she was "probably the second person to save someone's life with an injection of the new, dark yellow, syrup-like penicillin."

Rosemary first helped sell poppies with her mother on Richmond Bridge when she was just six.

She retired from the appeal earlier this year, with her final collection taking place at the nursing home where she was handed her MBE.

A donation from each copy of her memoir will go to the Royal British Legion.

A spokesperson for the Legion said her "dedication" to the appeal "was nothing short of remarkable". "The presentation of her MBE was a fitting tribute to a woman whose volunteering and fundraising efforts will be spoken about for generations to come."