Volunteer shortage sees Heathway Shopping Centre workers step in to sell poppies

PUBLISHED: 17:25 09 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:25 09 November 2018

Heathway Shopping Centre boss Kerry Debenham and her staff have been selling poppies after the Royal British Legion was unable to run a collection there. Picture: Kerry Debenham

Heathway Shopping Centre boss Kerry Debenham and her staff have been selling poppies after the Royal British Legion was unable to run a collection there. Picture: Kerry Debenham

Kerry Debenham

Workers in a shopping centre in Dagenham have generously stepped in and are selling poppies after the British Legion were unable to find any volunteers.

Staff at the Heathway Shopping Centre are taking timeout to sell the red and black emblems which go on sale every year ahead of Remembrance Sunday this weekend.

Kerry Debenham, the shopping centre’s boss, made the call after the Royal British Legion was unable to organise a collection there.

She said: “We haven’t got a lot of spare time, but we’ve been sending staff out to sell them.

“It is important to never forget the people who gave their lives to defend this country so sparing a little of your time so that their memory will live on has to be worth it.”

Royal British Legion members usually set up stalls in locations across the borough to sell the paper flowers until November 11, but after the Dagenham organiser passed away it hasn’t been easy to find someone else to take on the role.

Ms Debenham is appealing for volunteers who can sell poppies next year.

She said: “I’m sure there are plenty of people who would love to do it.”

A Royal British Legion spokeswoman said: “Sadly the role of Dagenham organiser has been vacant for the past couple of years, and though it was possible to run a collection for the Heathway Centre last year, this year we were not able to do so.

“We are grateful to the staff of the Heathway Centre for stepping in to help, and we continue to seek an organiser for the future.”

If you would be interested in becoming the Dagenham organiser or getting involved in another way, visit or call 0808 802 8080.

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