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Help For Heroes boost from charity poppies

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: November 05, 2013

Marlene McCann from Skewen who has crocheted hundreds of red woolen poppies, raising more than £1,100 for the Poppy Appeal, in memory of her son Lance Corporal Robert Porte who died in 1999.

A GRANDMOTHER is creating her own special poppy fundraiser in memory of her soldier son.

Marlene McCann has crocheted an astonishing 800 of the scarlet flowers, raising £1,100 for charity.

A life-long supporter of good causes, Ms McCann, from Sidings Terrace in Skewen, turned her creative skills to supporting military charities after the death of her Royal Engineer son in 1999.

After making a couple of poppies for her own use in 2012, the 75-year-old found herself inundated by requests this year — and got busy with the crochet hook.

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Now Ms McCann's flowery handiwork has meant a £600 cash boost for injured servicemen and woman charity, Help For Heroes.

She said: "My son was killed in the Army 14 years ago — every year since then I have given money in Robert's name.

"I crocheted a poppy last year and people started asking me for them — since May I've made 800 of them."

Ms CaCann's son, Lance Corporal Robert Porte, was on a diving training course in Cyprus when he was killed in a boating accident in 1999.

In memory of the fallen soldier, who had served in Angola, the Falklands and Bosnia, Ms McCann began raising funds for military charities alongside her other fundraising work — over the years her crocheting, sewing and baking skills have benefited a range of causes from the Army Benevolent Fund to Skewen Medical Centre, special needs pupils at Blaenbaglan Primary School and the Maasai of eastern Africa.

Along with the £600 Help For Heroes donation, Ms McCann also raised £500 for BanglaCymru — a charity which funds cleft palate operations in Bangladesh — with her homemade poppies.

Ms McCann, who is secretary of the ladies section of the Skewen Over 60s Club as well as a member of the Longford-based Helping Hands knitting club, said: "I have always supported charities — I have done it for the last 51 years.

"It is important to give something back."

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