A railway ticket officer from Sheffield is on track to raise more than £100,000 for the British Legion.
Ron Wiltshire, from Wincobank, has been collecting money for the cause for the past eight years after surviving a heart attack and deciding he wanted to give something back to charity.
In his first year of raising money for the Poppy Appeal, he collected around £400 but his fundraising has grown and he has now raised more than £75,000.
Ron takes two weeks off each year in late October from his job in the ticket office at Chesterfield station to travel up and down the country selling poppies to passengers before Remembrance Day.
But this year, he is selling special commemorative 1914-2014 metal poppy badges to mark the centenary of the start of World War I, and hopes to collect the £25,000 needed to take him past £100,000 donation mark.
Ron, who works for East Midlands Trains, has already raised more than £6,000 from selling the badges this year and is confident of passing his target.
The 62-year-old has got colleagues to form a team of volunteers to sell the badges, which are also available to buy from Chesterfield, Nottingham, Leicester and St Pancras stations.
He said: “I started collecting at Sheffield station at the ticket office and I got about £400 in the first year.”
Ron said the charity then asked him to be responsible for collections for East Midlands Trains – leading him to start making collections on board services.
He said: “I used to take two weeks’ annual leave and I rode up and down to London, getting back on and off at Derby and Leicester and London.”
He said more than £20,000 was collected last year, and East Midlands Trains now gives him the fortnight to dedicate to collections without him needing to take time off.
Ron said he did not expect the fundraising to grow to the level it has when he started.
“I was just giving something back. When I gave them £400 in that first year I felt very good about that,” he said. “Since then, it has just gone on.”
He said this year has been different, with sales already instead of just close to Remembrance Day.
Ron has also been selling the badges on eBay and has managed to sell more than 50 via the internet auction site in the last three weeks.
Neil Micklethwaite, customer service and commercial director for East Midlands Trains, added: “We’re proud of the work Ron has done over the years in supporting the British Legion’s Poppy Appeal. This marks a significant year for the appeal and we hope people will support Ron and the appeal by making a small donation in return for one of the badges.”
Money from the badge sales will go towards the legion’s work in providing care and support to serving members of the Armed Forces, veterans of all ages and their families.