Tributes for Burnley Royal British Legion stalwart who was affectionately known as 'the Poppy Man'
A man who was known as a 'true gentleman' and a valued and well-respected member of the Royal British Legion has died at the age of 75.
Ken Neild had volunteered at the Burnley and Padiham branch of the RBL for many years and gave talks at local schools and community groups, ensuring that the young people of today did not forget the heroes that came before them.
Known fondly as 'the Poppy Man' Ken worked in the poppy shop each year with his wife Barbara and would happily chat to those visiting the shop about the work that the British legion did and, in turn, he would listen to the tales from veterans with great respect.
Having served with the Lancashire regiment (Prince of Wales Volunteers) Ken was incredibly proud to help and serve the people of Burnley with his RBL duties, which included his regular involvement with the Towneley Remembrance Day service.
Ken was also affectionately known to many children as 'Grandad Ken' as he volunteered at St Augustine's RC Primary School in Burnley, where his grandchildren were pupils when they were younger.
From planting seeds and reading with the children, Ken also spent many years playing the role of Father Christmas at the school fairs and parties during the festive season.
He also helped to organise PTFA events at the former Towneley High School when his children were pupils there.
Born in Manchester Ken moved to Burnley after marrying Barbara, as it was her hometown.
Ken worked at Fire Clay for a few years before moving to Lucas Aerospace where he was employed until he had an accident at home which caused significant back issues and put an end to his career.
But Ken did not give up and threw himself into his community work.
Paying tribute to her father, Ken's daughter, Jenny Guest said: "Anyone could call on dad and he was always happy to help.
"He thoroughly enjoyed helping in the community and will be sadly missed.
"Burnley has lost a 'true gentleman.' "
Ken also leaves children Terry and Judith and nine grandchildren. His funeral takes place on Thursday (December 2nd) at 1.40pm at Burnley Crematorium. The family have asked for family flowers only but would welcome any donations to the Royal British Legion.