HERO is an overused word but few are more worthy of the label than Eric Atkin.
The 86-year-old has sold poppies for 75 years and counting, after his parents were both founding members of the Royal British Legion.
He reckons he has raised more than £100,000 for the charity, which supports wounded veterans and families.
And his heroic efforts saw Eric, of Wath, receive a Points of Light award from the Prime Minister Theresa May.
The awards recognise volunteers “who make a difference in their community” and Eric was the 827th person to receive one when he received a letter from Mrs May.
Eric, who is the chairman of the Mexborough, Swinton and Kilnhurst RBL branch, said: “It was very overwhelming to get the award.
“I was very pleased to receive it and I have no idea who nominated me or how it came about.”
In her letter, Mrs May said Eric had been a “tremendous asset” to the Legion.
She wrote: “You have dedicated your life to remembering the lives of those lost in the First and Second World Wars.
“Your continued work over 75 years has been a tremendous asset to the Royal British Legion and has rightfully made you one of their most valued volunteers.
“You should be immensely proud of continuing the legacy of your parents through the millions of poppies that you have distributed.”
Eric served himself in the Army’s King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry from 1954 to 1956 and he said he had been selling poppies since he was 12.
“It has been in my blood since I was born and I will keep selling them as long as I can,” he said.
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