May 24 2011 By Siba Matti
Bernard Roberts Local Hero 2011
A SECOND World War veteran who has raised more than £250,000 for the Royal British Legion has been nominated for a Local Hero Award.
Bernard Roberts, 90, has been put forward for the Fabulous Fundraiser category in the annual competition, run jointly by the Uxbridge Gazette and Leader Series, and Uxbridge College.
The winner of each category - including Star Carer; Community Champion; Courageous Citizen and Outstanding Young Person – will receive £200 and a trophy, while the overall Hero of Hillingdon will pocket an amazing £500.
With just three days until the competition deadline on Friday (27), time is running out to nominate your unsung heroes.
Mr Roberts, who has been married to his beloved wife, Daphne, for 65 years, spent a decade as Poppy Appeal organiser for the Eastcote branch of the Royal British Legion, before recently stepping down.
During his time in office, he led a team which raised more than £250,000 to help serving and ex-service army personnel, as well as their families.
The charity, which this year celebrates its 90th anniversary, is of great importance to Mr Roberts, who has three daughters, six grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.
The pensioner, who lives in Northolt, told the Gazette: "I was called up for military service on September 1, 1939, in the machine gun battalion with the First 8th Middlesex Regiment.
"About two months later I was transferred to the 6th Cheshire Regiment, then I went into radar training before being posted to Scotland.
"The next thing I knew, I was off on a world adventure, from Egypt to the American coast, Brazil, then across South Africa and eventually ending in Italy."
Mr Roberts, a founding member of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME), was discharged in 1946.
After a short spell working for Great Western Railways and earning £5 a week, he joined the the Metropolitan Police, spending most of his 20-year career based in Southall.
He has since focused his energies on raising as much as possible for the Royal British Legion.
Mr Roberts said: "Although I have now stepped down, I will continue my collection duties during Remembrance Fortnight, as well as taking part in the Remembrance Sunday parade at Eastcote War Memorial.
"The charity does so much good by looking after people who were injured and need help, as well as their families.
"I have also made some wonderful friends during my time working for the Poppy Appeal. I can't think of a more deserving cause to raise money for."
Mr Roberts was nominated for a Local Hero award by Lesley Crowcroft, who said: "There cannot be a better candidate to be named Fabulous Fundraiser than Bernard.
"The job of Poppy Appeal organiser, particularly in the current climate, is not an easy one and to raise that kind of money takes real tenacity.
"He is a worthy Local Hero and an inspiration to all of us."
Mrs Crowcroft has also been nominated for a Local Hero award, in the Community Champion category, for her steadfast efforts to make Eastcote 'a nicer place to live'.
The 64-year-old, of Lowlands Road, Eastcote, was instrumental in leading volunteers working on the restoration and replanting of thousands of bulbs in the Walled Garden at the 17th century Eastcote House Gardens.
As chairman of The Friends of Eastcote House Gardens, she has fought tirelessly to raise cash for the project, including a £24,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to restore original herb beds.
The Gardens were officially reopened in July last year, with more than 5,000 people flocking to enjoy picnics and entertainment in the beautiful grounds.
Most recently, The Friends has launched a £1million appeal to restore two remaining Grade II listed buildings on the site to their former glory.
If successful in their bid to HLF later this year, the Stables (the Old Coach House) has been earmarked for community use, while the Dovecot will be an education centre.
The cash will also fund an archaeological dig, planting an orchard, and the construction of a new premises to provide public facilities.
As if that wasn't enough, Mrs Crowcroft was also a key figure in the renovation the Pinn Bridge in Ruislip, which had formerly been rather scruffy.
She is also chairman of the Eastcote Village Conservation Area Advisory Panel, environment spokesperson for the Northwood Hills Residents Association, and devoted years as a committee member for the Eastcote Residents Association.
Mrs Crowcroft, who has been married to her husband, John, for 43 years and has two children, said: "We have lived in Eastcote since 1983 and it is such a beautiful town, with so many grade-listed buildings and a fascinating Tudor history.
"We need to work hard to ensure it stays this way and we can, if we all do it together.
"If I did win the award, I would treat all the volunteers to tea and cream cakes, and plough the rest into our appeal fund, but I really feel its The Friends of Eastcote House as a whole who deserve recognition."
Her nominator, Jess Lee, of Ruislip, told the Gazette: "Lesley has inspired and organised all sorts of people in Eastcote to work together on projects and make the town a nicer place to live.
"However big the task, she has never been daunted, and I think she is a very good candidate for the overall Hero of Hillingdon award."
Who is your Local Hero? Nominate them by filling in the nomination form in the Gazette or online at www.uxbridgegazette.co.uk/heroes.
Alternatively email Gazette reporter Siba Matti at email@example.com