Tributes paid to King's Lynn's ‘Poppy Man’ Cyril Route, 96
Tributes have been paid to a “pillar of the community”, who was well-known for his dedication to the annual Poppy Appeal, who has died aged 96.
Cyril Route, of North Lynn, who was known to some as the ‘Poppy Man’ due to his volunteering role, died of natural causes on Saturday at Swaffham Hospital.
Such was Cyril’s dedication to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal, which he had been supporting since the 1960s, that he was presented with a plaque for his efforts in 2016.
At that time, his wife Joan, who helped him sell poppies over the years, said Cyril would continue supporting the appeal “until he can no longer stand”.
Informing the community of Cyril’s passing, Karin Hipkin of Lynn’s RBL said: “Cyril was a well-known and much-loved figure of the King’s Lynn community, especially for his long service as a Poppy Appeal collector.
“Cyril and his wife Joan lived for the Poppy Appeal stretching back to the 60s when they handmade the old wire poppies and then went selling them door-to-door.”
She said there is now a memorial table to Cyril at Lynn’s town centre Sainsbury’s – where he spent many years collecting funds for the appeal – so that people can leave messages of condolences to his family.
Karin added: “He will be remembered dearly by all the staff at Sainsbury’s and members of the community who donated to the Poppy Appeal out of support to Cyril.
“Because Cyril was such a well-known and loved pillar of our community we feel it would be fitting to give everyone the opportunity to send messages of condolence or sympathy cards in memory of Cyril.”
Cyril leaves behind his wife Joan, son Peter, grandchildren Louise and Adam, and great-grandchildren Caitlin, Olivia and Emily.
His family said: “We would like to pass on special thanks to all staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Swaffham Community Hospital who showed such compassion and care. We know how fond they were of Cyril.
“We would also like to express our deep gratitude to Robbie and Karin of the Royal British Legion. We are indebted to you both for all of the assistance you have given to Cyril and Joan over the years.
“The dedication you have to upholding the values of the Royal British Legion is clear to see and we are so grateful for the ongoing support you provide.”
Cyril’s own Army career began in 1941, when, coming up for the age of 18, he served in the East Surrey Regiment in Africa – where he was part of Field Marshal Montgomery’s guard.
He was part of the Desert Rats, delivering ammunition to the troops, before he was shipped out to Italy towards the end of the Second World War.
It was here that Cyril spent 104 days on the mountain at Monte Cassino – he later said that friends had been lost there and it “took some to get over” the ordeal. He finished his service with the regiment and returned home in 1947.
A tribute page has been set up by AJ Coggles as Cyril’s ‘last collection’ for the Poppy Appeal. To donate, go to www.memorygiving.com/cyrilalfredroute.