SALES of poppies in a North Yorkshire town raised more money this year than at any time since the appeal's inception in the 1920s.

David Johnson, the local poppy appeal organiser, said fundraising in Richmond and surrounding villages has so far totalled £20,740 – and money was still coming in.

Mr Johnson, 60, said: “Following last year’s record breaking collection of £17,928 – which was the best in Richmond since the 1920s – the amount collected so far in this year’s poppy appeal has exceeded that by nearly £3,000.

“The kind generosity of the people of Richmond, Gilling West, Brompton-on-Swale, Ravensworth, Whashton, Kirby Hill, Easby, Skeeby, Hudswell and Holly Hill truly reflects the support given to our Armed Forces in active service or at home.”

Mr Johnson said that £9,877 was gained through collection tins – including £1,170 collected by Army cadets; £1,162 from Richmond Market Place poppy stall; and £838 from Richmond Co-op stall.

A further £2,951 was collected from sales of enamel badges; a huge £2,776 was raised at the Richmond Festival of Remembrance; £2,051 from donations and £1,466 from the sale of wreaths.

More of the funds were raised by the town's pubs, clubs, a poppy appeal coffee morning, St Mary’s Church and the Station.

Mr Johnson, who served for 24 years in the Army in the Royal Corps of Transport, said: “We will always honour and remember those who died for our country, and help those in need who are suffering because of war.

“The truly outstanding result of this year’s poppy appeal show that people really care. I am honoured to work with an exceptional group of volunteers built up over the years who believe in this worthy cause.”

Mr Johnson began working for the poppy appeal organisation in 1999 – when he raised £3,000 for the charity.

He said living so close to Catterick Garrison was probably one of the reasons for local generosity and support, adding: “Richmond branch has reached the top 50 collection groups in the country in the last three years, reaching 31st, 11th and 17th most recently.

“We are also top in Yorkshire so it shows how strong the support is here and we just want to thank everyone.”