7th November, 1976.
Image shows ex-servicewoman and veteran poppy seller for 54 years, 81 year-old Annie Tunnington. She is posing for the camera in her regular spot beside the War Memorial in the Garden of Remembrance on the Headrow, with the clock tower of Leeds Town Hall in the background. Annie, born in 1895, first began selling poppies in 1922, when only in her twenties, as a response to the plight of servicemen wounded in the First World War, including that of her younger brother, Joe (born 22nd December, 1897). Private Joe Tunnington (20657) survived the Battle of the Somme of 1916 but sadly returned home in 1917, shell-shocked and disabled as a result. He gave his sister a tiny oil painting of a racehorse that he had made during his convalescence and she was very moved when she saw the unsteady brushstrokes of the injured young man. From that moment she vowed to do all that she could to support others such as Joe by becoming involved in the Royal British Legion's newly established Poppy Appeal. Then every year from 1937(when she was first given a stand beside the War Memorial to sell her poppies) until 1976, Annie braved the elements, standing for up to ten hours at a time. For the two weeks prior to the annual Remembrance Day her Royal British Legion home in Turnbull Court, Roundhay, was ankle deep in red Flanders poppies as she assembled around 3,000 of the plastic-and-paper flowers in readiness to sell. The November weather during some of those years was appalling, with snowfalls, intense cold and icy conditions to contend with. Annie recalled that one year, as she stood selling her poppies in freezing temperatures, her shoes actually froze and stuck to the ground and she had to be lifted out of them and into a taxi, leaving her shoes behind. Over the years Miss Annie Tunnington raised around £10,000 from the sale of her poppies. She is photographed here in 1976, the year of her retirement from poppy selling as, at 81 years old, the often harsh weather conditions had begun to adversely affect her health. Her brother, Joe Tunnington, continued to paint throughout his life (he died in 1962 in his mid-sixties). Some of his paintings, depicting local scenes, are available to view on the Leodis website. They can be found by entering the name Tunnington in the Keyword/Terms field when making an Advanced Search.