Pupils remember Desert Rat Cyril - town’s ‘Poppy Man’

Cyril Route, King's Lynn's Poppy Man, pictured on Remembrance Day Picture: Ian Burt

Cyril Route, King's Lynn's Poppy Man, pictured on Remembrance Day Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Archant

This year’s Remembrance Day held a special meaning for a group of schools who hold the memory of a Second World War veteran close to their hearts.

Ben Carter raises the flag and David Maddison plays Last Post Picture: Paul TIbbs

Ben Carter raises the flag and David Maddison plays Last Post Picture: Paul TIbbs - Credit: Archant

Cyril Route, a former Desert Rat and ardent supporter of the Royal British Legion, attended many services held by the West Norfolk Academies Trust schools before he passed away this summer.

Mr Route died at the age of 96 and was a firm favourite at the services which involved the trust schools from across West Norfolk.

His birthday often fell on the date of the service and he sat in the front row while pupils sang him Happy Birthday as part of their remembrance ceremony.

“The children loved him and every year the audience would stand and sing Happy Birthday to him. He always sat in the front row,” said Mr John Hirst, director of secondary standards.

Springwod High school pupils remember Cyril Route Picture: Paul TIbbs

Springwod High school pupils remember Cyril Route Picture: Paul TIbbs - Credit: Archant


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“He died in the summer and the executive head of Springwood, Andy Johnson, and myself promised his family that this year’s performance would be filmed in each school with a video made and sent to his family.”

The West Norfolk Academies Trust Remembrance Poetry Performance was dedicated to Mr Route and features tributes in verse this year as the pupils could not sing together because of the pandemic.

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Mr Route, of North Lynn, became known as the Poppy Man around the town. He supported the annual appeal since the 1960s when he and his wife Joan would make the poppies and sell them door-to-door.

His army career started in 1941 when he joined the East Surrey Regiment in Africa and was part of the guard for Field Marshal Montgomery.

He was a member of the Desert Rats and towards the end of the war he spent 104 days at the infamous Monte Cassino mountain campaign.

The West Norfolk Academies Trust includes Gaywood Primary, Walpole Cross Keys Primary, Heacham Infants, Heacham Junior, Snettisham Primary, West Lynn Primary, and Clenchwarton Primary along with Smithdon, Marshland, St Clements and Springwood High Schools.

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