Bristol

Poppy seller Olive Cooke from Bristol dies aged 92

Olive Cooke selling poppies
Image caption Olive Cooke was a familiar face in Bristol Cathedral where she sold poppies every year

One of the country's oldest poppy sellers has died aged 92 after more than seven decades of charity work.

Mrs Cooke, well known for collecting money for the Royal British Legion (RBL) appeal outside Bristol Cathedral, was found dead in Avon Gorge on 6 May.

Bristol Lord Mayor Alastair Watson described Mrs Cooke as a "city treasure".

She started selling poppies aged 16 as her father was an active RBL member having served in World War One.

Her body was found two days before the 70th anniversary of VE Day, the Bristol Post revealed.

Mrs Cooke's death has been referred to Avon coroner's office and an inquest is expected to be opened next week.

'Just wonderful'

Mr Watson told BBC Radio Bristol he had met Mrs Cooke many times - most recently to present her with the Lord Mayor's Medal for her charity work,

He said: "She was just wonderful, she was bright as a button - she loved telling her stories."

One of the RBL's longest-serving poppy collectors, Mrs Cooke, who lived in Fishponds, had said that selling poppies took on a whole new meaning after her first husband was killed in action in March 1943.

RBL area manager David Lowe said Mrs Cooke had been respected and admired for her long service.

"As well as collecting, Olive found time to become the standard bearer in the Bedminster Down Women's section - a task she carried out for 54 years until 1998," he said.

"Olive later became secretary and chairman of the section... she will be greatly missed, but not forgotten. Our thoughts and condolences are with Olive's friends and family."

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