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New Year’s Honour for Dagenham poppy seller

PUBLISHED: 11:35 04 January 2016 | UPDATED: 12:44 04 January 2016

Charlie Andrews, a road sweeper from Dagenham, has been awarded a British Empire Medal for his work collecting money for the Royal British Legion poppy appeal

Charlie Andrews, a road sweeper from Dagenham, has been awarded a British Empire Medal for his work collecting money for the Royal British Legion poppy appeal

Archant

A poppy seller has told of his shock after he achieved recognition in the New Year’s Honours list.

Charlie Andrews, 60, from Dagenham, said the British Empire Medal award was “completely out of the blue”, after he raised thousands of pounds collecting poppies for the Royal British Legion.

“A lot of people lost their lives in the First World War and still do in other conflicts,” said the Cannington Road resident, who takes holiday from his job as waste sweeper in the City of London to collect for more than two weeks every year.

Along with colleague Sean McCarthy, Charlie has endured cold and rain annually for five years to raise a total of more than £300,000 for veterans and their families.

“We don’t do it for the recognition,” said the granddad-of-nine.

“Soldiers come back traumatised, war splits up families. Soldiers really need our help.”

Charlie will be attending a royal garden party at Buckingham Palace this summer, where he will be awarded the medal for outstanding service to the community.

“I feel honoured by it, but that’s not why we do it,” said Charlie.

“We’ll keep on doing it as long as can still carry the tins.”

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