Walter 'Wally' Randall has laid claim to being the country's oldest Royal British Legion fundraiser after Ron Jones hit the headlines when he retired as a poppy seller aged 99 last week.

101-year-old Wally has been selling poppies for the Royal British Legion in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire since the early 1950s.

Wally was born in the village of Wing, Buckinghamshire, on September 8, 1915.

He served in the Service Corps during World War II before he later held the positions of both branch chairman and club chairman for the Leighton Buzzard Royal British Legion.

Wally is the proud recipient of a lifetime certificate for services to the local branch and has showed no signs of hanging up his collecting tin yet.

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"I'm going to keep on selling poppies while I've still got the energy to do it,” he said.

“I'm lucky because I get to sit inside the entrance of Wilko’s in the warm.

"I don't know whether I'm the oldest poppy seller or not - it all came about when someone put me on Facebook and said, 'No, here's the oldest one.'"

Wally – whose father died in World War I, one day before the Armistice - added: "My favourite thing about selling poppies is people's generosity - when someone puts money in but says, 'I've already got a poppy'. It's very gratifying."

Speaking of his own war record, Wally said: "In 1942 I was kitted out to go to the Far East but then Singapore fell to the Japanese. I was then sent to North Africa and the Nazis drove us back into Egypt.

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"I befriended an old World War I veteran while we were in Cairo and on our two days off we visited Alexandria and climbed the pyramids.

"I was a motor mechanic and was sent to the front line when we started pushing enemy troops back at El Alamein.

"I was with a platoon of 10 lorries that took the Fourth Indian Division up to the front line - mine was a breakdown lorry."

Wally, who was serving in Italy when the war ended in 1945, briefly returning home before his unit went to Vienna. He was demobbed in 1946.

Derek Mitchell, Leighton Buzzard Royal British Legion Club Secretary, said: "Wally had his 100th birthday party last year and was first to say, 'Well, when are we going to get on with the dancing then?'

"He just keeps active, and doesn't smoke or drink to excess. He recently stopped cycling but before then I had to tell him to wear a helmet.

“He flies about like a man half his age."

Photo credits: SWNS