Poppy Man faces The Last Post

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WE will remember him.

Milton Keynes said goodbye to one of its favourite sons yesterday when Poppy Man Harry Sibbert was laid to rest.

Dozens of mourners packed St James’ Church in New Bradwell to honour the 88-year-old Second World War hero, who died on February 9.

Much-loved Harry was well known throughout the city for his role in collecting money for the Royal British Legion in the run up to Remembrance Day, despite the fact he was disabled after losing both his legs in the war.

His daughter Margaret lead the tributes, saying: “He was such a happy man and he lived life to the full every day. He loved interacting with people and they loved him as well.

“He always wanted to help people even though a lot of events were designed to be helping him. That was just his way. He was a wonderful man.”

Harry served with the Royal Artillery alongside famous comedian Spike Milligan, who was a gunner.

In later years he fought another battle when he took part in anti-fox hunting demonstrations. His love of animals was so strong that he became a vegan in the early 90s.

Margaret said: “People would request to buy their poppies from him because he was such a character. Children would ask him how he lost his legs and he would sit and tell them stories. They loved him as much as he loved them.”

And Harry, who lived in sheltered accommodation at Stantonbury Fields, never lost his sense of humour.

“When we went to parties he used to say that he would be a cheap date because when he arrived he was already legless,” said Margaret.

One close friend Peter Mead added: “He was a very nice person. If he could have helped anyone out he certainly would have, that was his wonderful character.”

Another friend told an anecdote that revealed the old soldier’s bravery.

When accosted by a group of muggers after he had been out collecting money, Harry warned them he had been a soldier, had been in the SAS and knew how to break bones.

His would-be assailants ran away.

> Donations for The Royal British Legion and British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association can be made through Finch and Sons Family Funeral Service in Bletchley. For more information call 01908 367777.