South East Wales

Newport poppy seller Ron Jones to retire aged 99

Ron Jones Image copyright Wales News Service

A former soldier from Newport is set to retire from selling poppies at the age of 99.

Ron Jones, of Bassaleg, has been collecting for The Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal for more than 30 years.

He was a prisoner of war in the Nazi death camp Auschwitz while serving in the 1st Battalion of the Welch Regiment during World War Two.

The Royal British Legion said he was one of its oldest poppy collectors and described him as "a true hero".

Mr Jones, who sells the poppies at Tesco on the Harlech Retail Park, had planned to retire last year but after carrying on for another 12 months has finally called it a day.

He said he was stepping down as he no longer had a car and had to rely on others for a lift.

"I've met a lot of people, it's an important cause," the grandfather-of-two said.

"I have made a lot of friends which has been nice."

Image copyright Ron Jones
Image caption Ron Jones (middle of back row) played football while a prisoner of war near Auschwitz

Mr Jones was captured in 1943 while fighting in the Middle East and after nine months in Italy was transferred to forced labour camp E715, part of the Auschwitz complex.

He has previously recounted his experiences at the camp where he worked six days a week in a factory and being permitted to play football with his fellow soldiers on Sunday.

Lynne Woodyatt, The Royal British Legion's community fundraiser for south east Wales, said: "Ron is one of our oldest poppy collectors and one that we hold in very high regard.

"The poppy appeal is something very close to Ron's heart and I have no doubt that he would miss being involved as much as we at the legion, and the general public, would miss him.

"He is a true hero and a gentleman. But whatever he decided to do we will support him."

Image copyright The Royal British Legion

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