Special hat-trick for Legion’s Ian

At Blackpool Royal British Legion-celebrating raising �126,100 from the Poppython-are from left, Brittany Quirk, Hannah Peel, Ian Coleman (Blackpool RBL president), Kathy King (who composed and sang the Poppython song), comedian Johnnie Casson, Stephanie Nickson and Elle Daley. The girls are from the Nicky Figgins Centre Stage Academy.
At Blackpool Royal British Legion-celebrating raising �126,100 from the Poppython-are from left, Brittany Quirk, Hannah Peel, Ian Coleman (Blackpool RBL president), Kathy King (who composed and sang the Poppython song), comedian Johnnie Casson, Stephanie Nickson and Elle Daley. The girls are from the Nicky Figgins Centre Stage Academy.
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A larger-than-life fund-raiser is celebrating a special hat-trick.

This month saw Ian Coleman mark 25 years as president of the Royal British Legion Club in King Street, Blackpool.

It caps a remarkable series of achievements – in 2013 he reached 25 years as branch president, which is the welfare side of the club, and last October the fund-raising Poppython also reached its 25 year milestone.

Over the years the show, which is supported by entertainers from throughout the town, has raised £134,000 for the Poppy Appeal.

Ian, 75, who stepped down as branch president but aims to continue as club president looking after the entertainments side of the venue, said: “For anyone to serve a year for the Royal British Legion is an honour, but to find yourself serving a decade, then 20 years, and now 25 years, is something I take great pride in.

“There are so many people who have helped over the years - many of them are no longer with us and my heart goes out to them all.

“And the one person who has been steadfast alongside me over all these years has been my wife Mavis.”

Ian is urging more people to support the work of the Royal British Legion, and particularly to become members of the club which for the last couple of years has suffered losses of a few thousand pounds.

He said: “The club has done so much for the people of Blackpool over the years since 1981 when it was founded in King Street.

“People can either join as members or sign in to come inside.

“If you are grateful for what our boys and girls in the forces have done for this country over so many decades, please support us so we can go on supporting them.”

Among the highlights of Ian’s time at the helm of the Legion have been helping to organise commemorations alongside others such as the late Jim Houldsworth, also a champion of ex-servicemen and women, to mark the 50th anniversary of the D-Day Landings in 1994 and the 50th anniversary of VE and VJ.

These paved the way for Blackpool’s annual Veterans Week. He has also played a key role protecting Blackpool’s war memorial including calling for tougher sanctions against those who vandalise memorials.