Legion stalwart steps down but will still sell his poppies

Jim Lewendon is handing on the baton as county chairman of the Royal British Legion but will continue to do his bit for the annual Poppy Appeal. Picture: OX69017 Cliff Hide

Jim Lewendon is handing on the baton as county chairman of the Royal British Legion but will continue to do his bit for the annual Poppy Appeal. Picture: OX69017 Cliff Hide Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Didcot and Wallingford. Call me on 01865 425425

AFTER 41 years selling poppies to raise funds for the Royal British Legion in Oxfordshire Jim Lewendon is preparing to bow out as county chairman.

As chairman of the RBL in Oxfordshire, Mr Lewendon, from Girdlestone Road, Headington, has attended as many major military occasions as possible over the past three years and will resign from the role in February.

It is the second time he has held the position of county chairman – his first stint was from 1999 to 2001 – and in between the two periods as chairman he held the role of vice-chairman.

“I’ve been chairman or vice-chairman of the RBL in Oxfordshire for years and I have really enjoyed it but it’s a very demanding role and it’s time a younger man took it over,” said father-of-three Mr Lewendon, who is 85.

“I will still be president of the Oxford City branch, and keep in touch with the Marston branch.”

Mr Lewendon will read The Exhortation at Monday’s Turning the Pages ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

He has read the short verse beginning “They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old” so many times that he knows it off by heart.

Mr Lewendon, a great-grandfather, was also present in June at the Clifton Hampden memorial service for D-Day hero Major John Howard, who was one of the first to land on the night of the D-Day landings when he led the glider assault on Pegasus Bridge in the Second World War.

Mr Lewendon added: “The Remembrance Day service at St Giles this year will be my last as chairman. It will be a moving one for me – but it always is.

“I have been selling poppies for the RBL for more than 40 years and I don’t intend to stop now.

“With the First World War commemorations it has been a very busy time for me.”

Mr Lewendon was a founder member of the group of veterans who gather in Headley Way, Headington, to pay their respects to fallen servicemen and women repatriated from Afghanistan.

He said: “We got a phone call in the Marston branch when the first repatriation came past Headley Way, in June 2008, and a few veterans stood on the pavement to pay our respects.

“We never knew where it was going to lead and it wasn’t long before hundreds of people gathered there.”

Mr Lewendon’s wife Joyce died aged 76 in 2005, and his son, Colin, who lived in Oxford, died aged 55 from a suspected heart attack in 2009.

Mr Lewendon has two daughters, Christine, 63, who lives in Norfolk, and Wendy, 49, who lives in Cuddesdon, near Oxford.

  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.

Send your Letter to the Editor: What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter for publication here

11:20am Monday 28th July 2014

What do you think? We welcome letters from our readers on a wide variety of subjects and you can send us a letter through the blue headline above.

Our top stories

Jury told fire started because businessman thought best man was having affair with wife

Oxford Mail:

8:29am Friday 22nd May 2015

A HOUSE fire that forced people to jump for their lives was started by a businessman who accused his best man of having an affair with his wife, a jury heard.

UPDATE: Missing woman Rachel Selby from Banbury found safe

Oxford Mail:

3:16pm Friday 22nd May 2015

A WOMAN who went missing from Banbury has been found, police said

Person hit by train between Slough and Reading likely to affect Oxford rail services to London

Oxford Mail: A First Great Western High Speed Train

3:24pm Friday 22nd May 2015

TRAINS from Oxford could be disrupted after a person was hit by a train between Slough and Reading.

Teenagers arrested after robbery in Hythe Bridge Street

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

3:23pm Friday 22nd May 2015

TWO teenagers have been arrested after a robbery in Hythe Bridge Street.

Oxford United stepping up interest in striker Ryan Taylor

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Friday 22nd May 2015

Ryan Taylor remains firmly on Oxford United’s radar despite the signing of Kemar Roofe, according to head coach Michael Appleton.

UPDATE: Broken down van removed from near Water Eaton park and ride

Oxford Mail: Traffic Alert general

7:54am Friday 22nd May 2015

ALL LANES have reopened on the A4165 Oxford Road after a earlier incident involving a broken down van.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree