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Cliff Whittingstall steps away from role after more than a decade co-ordinating Albany Poppy Appeal Day

Stuart McGuckinAlbany Advertiser
Cliff Whittingstall with some RSL poppies.
Camera IconCliff Whittingstall with some RSL poppies. Credit: Laurie Benson

After more than a decade co-ordinating and organising Albany’s annual Poppy Appeal Day, Cliff Whittingstall will step away from the role this year.

The 92-year-old served with the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers after being called up for national service in the UK in the 1950s and then migrated to Australia with his family in 1962.

Eight years later they moved to Albany where he has been an active member of the local RSL sub-branch ever since.

When Bill Smith stepped away from organising Albany’s annual poppy drive 16 years ago, Mr Whittingstall took over the important role and was already a regular volunteer assisting the appeal.

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About 3000 poppies are sold in Albany every year, with proceeds of the appeal shared between the local sub-branch and RSLWA.

Cliff Whittingstall with his daughter Deb Masson.
Camera IconCliff Whittingstall with his daughter Deb Masson. Credit: Laurie Benson

Co-ordinating the appeal involves finding volunteers to “shake the can” at 10 stations around Albany in the lead-up to Remembrance Day on November 11.

For a long time Mr Whittingstall continued to recruit volunteers through word-of-mouth and drew up his rosters by hand before delivering them to shops near his planned poppy stands.

In more recent years he has been able to enlist the help of his daughter, Deborah Masson, to set up computerised rosters that were distributed via email.

Mr Whittingstall, who was made a life member of RSLWA in 2020, has decided to retire from the role because he was finding it harder to find enough volunteers and his age has limited his physical capacity to continue.

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