Wiltshire Publications

Tribute to community stalwart & poppy appeal organiser, Bill Prior

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WESTBURY’S poppy appeal organiser for over 30 years and prominent member of the community, Bill Prior, has died aged 89. 

Bill’s daughter Sara told White Horse News about the ‘amazing man’ her father was, following his death on August 11th. 

“He was the Poppy Appeal organiser for Westbury since around 1985 and had recently received two certificates and a medal for his work for the Royal British Legion,” Sara said.  

“He was also a member of the Westbury St John Ambulance and worked his way up to superintendent. He was also a serving member of the Order of St John, along with my brother Lance, who died six years ago.  

“Dad received two civic awards from the town council for all his work in the community.

“When he started with the Poppy Appeal, five of them did a sponsored ride from John O’ Groats to Land’s End on a moped and a van, and every year after that on the May Bank Holiday, they did a charity ride in a different vehicle with different companies sponsoring them.

“I used to help him out with the poppies. When he gave up doing them, he missed being so active. He used to help out at the Westbury Heritage Society on Wednesdays, but then Covid happened and everything just stopped.  

“He was an amazing man – but very stubborn and independent and that’s probably where I get it from!” 

Bill was born in London and was evacuated to Bridgwater, Somerset. He went into the RAF and on his return to Bridgwater, met his wife Olga – who died 11 years ago. They married in the town and moved to Westbury. 

Bill’s career after leaving the RAF was as a toolmaker, first at Hattersley Heaton in Trowbridge before being made redundant, then finishing his working years at ALH Systems in Westbury.  

Bill’s funeral takes place on 9th September at Westbury’s All Saints Church.