Britain's 'longest serving' poppy seller becomes MBE

A 103-year-old former World War Two nurse believed to be Britain's longest-serving poppy seller has said becoming an MBE was a "wonderful" experience.

Rosemary Powell celebrated with a glass of champagne after she was presented with the medal at her London nursing home for her services to charity.

She was included in this year's list having collected for the Poppy Appeal since it began in 1921.

After receiving the medal, the great-grandmother said: "Isn't it wonderful?"

Mrs Powell sat in a wheelchair draped in a poppy-patterned blanket as she was handed the MBE medal on behalf of the Queen by the Vice Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, Colonel Jane Davis.

Her son Giles, who was at the ceremony with other family members, said the award "has been one of the biggest moments in her life - and mum has lived a very full life."

"She lost so may family members it really had an impact on her - it really was the catalyst for her volunteering work for the Royal British Legion," he said.

Mrs Powell took part in the first Poppy Appeal, selling poppies on Richmond Bridge with her mother when she was six.

She previously spoke about how the war "has had a significant impact on my life".

Her father Charles Ashton James was left wounded after being shot in the head during the Battle of the Somme, and she lost two godfathers and three uncles during World War One.

Mrs Powell's first fiance Robin Ellis, who was a commander in the Royal Navy, died in 1944 and her younger brother Peter also died during World War Two.

She announced this year she was to retire from selling poppies as she was "getting old".

Charles Byrne, director general of the Royal British Legion, said Mrs Powell was "most deserving of this award, and everyone at the Legion wishes her a very happy retirement."
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