Rare honour for late Poppy Appeal organiser

A poppy pin in honour of Sandy McGregor, former president of Whitehead Royal British Legion, has been commissioned. Pictured with Bill Dornan, chair of Whitehead RBL (centre), at the launch are members of Sandy's family, Hilton McGregor, Paddy Hull and Linda and Brian McGregor.
A poppy pin in honour of Sandy McGregor, former president of Whitehead Royal British Legion, has been commissioned. Pictured with Bill Dornan, chair of Whitehead RBL (centre), at the launch are members of Sandy's family, Hilton McGregor, Paddy Hull and Linda and Brian McGregor.

The family of the late president of Whitehead Royal British Legion have spoken of their deep appreciation after a rare honour was bestowed upon him by the organisation he served for decades.

Sandy McGregor, who was also long-time Poppy Appeal organiser in the Co. Antrim seaside town, became only the second person in Northern Ireland to have a poppy pin commissioned after him.

Artist Steve Diamond, whose artwork was used in the project, is presented with a pin by Bill Dornan, chair of Whitehead RBL. INCT 30-799-CON

Artist Steve Diamond, whose artwork was used in the project, is presented with a pin by Bill Dornan, chair of Whitehead RBL. INCT 30-799-CON

Sandy joined the RAF in 1939, aged 19 and went on to be mentioned in despatches for his distinguished service as a radar mechanic.

He was with a mobile radio communications unit at Rheims in France in January 1945 at the time when Hitler was in retreat and spent the rest of World War Two in France and Germany restoring communications.

His war effort and contribution to the Royal British Legion and community were highlighted at a special launch event in Whitehead Community Centre, where there was a strong turn-out of legion members and residents of the town where he was well known and respected.

Bill Dornan, chairman of Whitehead RBL, paid tribute to Sandy, who died in 2014, and the service he had given over the years.

A one-off run of 1,000 pins has been produced.

A one-off run of 1,000 pins has been produced.

He pointed out this is only the second time ever in Northern Ireland that a legion member has been honoured in this manner.

Sandy’s son Brian said the “extended family McGregor are highly honoured that father has been recognised in this way”.

He told guests: “It is a wonderful tribute to our late father who gave so much to the local branch. In fact If he was looking down at this he would probably be very embarrassed.”

A one-off run of 1,000 has been produced with a suggested a minimum donation of £3 per badge and all proceeds going to the Poppy Appeal.

The poppy pins, based on artwork by Whitehead artist Steven Diamond, will be available from door-to-door appeal collectors and from shops and outlets in Whitehead, Ballycarry and Islandmagee.