Poppy day volunteers take to the streets

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A sea of volunteers have lined the city center selling the iconic RSA poppies as part of the annual event, Poppy Day.

The remembrance campaign is a major fundraiser for the Returned and Services’ Association with around 60 volunteers taking to Nelson streets with their poppies and donation boxes.

Owen Houliston is selling poppies outside Michael Hill Jewelers and says so far there has been a lot of interest.

“I’ve been standing here since about 7.30, I’ve even been selling poppies to people who have already brought poppies.”

Owen is cousin to Robert Clerence McLeod, the first South Islander to receive the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Owen tells visitors to his stall the story of how Robert got his award.

“He was one of the party carrying ammunition to the trenches under heavy fire even though he had a wounded leg. On his return he didn’t report his wound and carried on.”

This year poppies from Australia have been brought in to supplement the low numbers of New Zealand poppies produced.

“I think they’re more fanciful for women. I tell people they’re scentless and good for asthmatics. It’s my two hours of fame, I like to have a bit of nonsense,” Owen says.

Ex Nelson RSA president, Buzz Falconer is also out selling poppies on Trafalgar street.  He says he is expecting increased sales on last year.

“It was poor weather last year, it’s a beautiful day today. I think this year will be good purely due to the 100 year anniversary.