Local Legion member has been selling poppies for almost 60 years

·2 min read

At 90 years of age, Jay Davenport was too young to take part in the Second World War; however, he still plays a part in remembering the soldiers who went off to fight and never returned.

Mr. Davenport has been selling poppies prior to Remembrance Day for almost 60 years.

A member of the Tottenham Legion, he now lives at Simcoe Village in Beeton and still manages to walk to the Foodland in Beeton where he greets visitors who enter the store with his tray of poppies.

“I don’t drive anymore and it’s too far for me to walk to Tottenham so I’m here on behalf of the Beeton Legion,” he said from his spot just inside the front doors next to the produce section. “I’ve been a Legion member since the 60s. I’m not a veteran, I was 14 years old when the war was over. I became a member of the Legion through the efforts of my family. We had family in the war. I had uncles who fought. My wife’s uncle was in the navy and he was torpedoed. He came back from the war and he was in real bad shape. I’ve got four different nephews who joined the military after the war including two who retired from the navy.”

The Legion, he said, is losing most of their WWII veterans due to age, and many younger veterans don’t want to join the Legion. Although Legion membership does increase and decrease over time as many veterans do decide to join when they are older.

“The veterans need all the help they can get,” he said of why he thinks it’s important to sell the poppies every year. “The government doesn’t seem to think it’s important. They’ve got other things on their mind.”

The Legion poppy campaign is conducted by Legion branches across the country and funds raised go to support veterans and their families and help ensure Canadians “never forget.”

People are quite generous when they place money in the collection box and pick up their poppy. “

The largest I had last week was a $50 bill,” Mr. Davenport said.

He said he plans to sell poppies every year as along as he is able to do so.

Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times

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