Can You Help Tom and Mary Run This Year's Poppy Appeal?

Husband and wife team hoping to recruit army of 100 local volunteers

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Mary and Tom with Cllr Alan De’Ath

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A husband and wife team who are leading the local Poppy Appeal for the first time hope to recruit an army of volunteers in the run-up to Remembrance Sunday.

Tom Phillips and Mary Walker were struggling to find a space from which to coordinate their campaign until Hammersmith & Fulham Council offered free use of an empty office at 181 King Street, which recently served as Hammersmith’s temporary library.

It is the latest in a lifetime of challenges taken on by Mary, 67, and Tom, 77, whose varied career included 14 years in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm. Tom was later involved in setting up the first land-based marina in Bahrain, where he met Mary in 1978 when she was working in an admin role for a global business.

They married soon afterwards and enjoyed an adventurous life overseas and in the UK, ultimately settling in Hammersmith & Fulham off North End Road.

The couple are now working hard to persuade up to 100 volunteers in Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush to distribute poppies, collect donations and count the takings, which will go towards the Royal British Legion’s welfare work within the armed forces.

Mary says: " It’s really important that we get young people involved, because they’re the only people who can take it forward for the next generation.

" The Poppy Appeal continues to be a cause that people understand and sympathise with, although people often come up to me and say I’m the first collector they’ve seen this year.

" Clearly, we need as many people as we can possibly get. Whether they can put in half a day or a couple of hours, it’s all useful."

Cllr Alan De’Ath, Borough Representative for the Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, was moved to find a suitable space for the campaign after being contacted by Mary.

He says: " Tom and Mary have an incredible energy and the effort they and the other volunteers are putting in is fantastic. Finding a space for them is the least we can do – now we need more people to step forward and sell poppies.

" The next four years are so important in terms of our nation and our community marking the anniversary of the First World War, and we intend to do all we can to show our respect and support for the work of the Royal British Legion."

Volunteers who can give up two hours or more between now and November 9 should drop in to 181 King Street, call Mary on 07791 888 142 or email


October 17, 2014