Record result for poppy auction

Mrs Gaul with Comrades Club member Alan Cooke (left) and Les Gilchrist the Poppy appeal organiser.
Mrs Gaul with Comrades Club member Alan Cooke (left) and Les Gilchrist the Poppy appeal organiser.

At the end of the First World War a club was formed in Whitley Bay by men coming out of the Great War.

It was called the Comrades of the Great War Club Whitley Bay and Monkseaton, and members met in a room above the Ship Public House in Monkseaton.

On March 24, 1920, the Comrades of the Great War Club purchased 14 The Links, Whitley Bay, and the club opened its doors following an official opening by Major General Sir A Kerr Montgomery and Captain Appleby, who had been blinded at Ypres.

A Guard of Honour was provided by The Gordon Highlanders.

The Comrades Club still operates a successful club today and while it has had to change in many ways, the most notable being admitting lady members, the club has retained the tradition and objections of the original founder members.

One of the most important is the annual auction of the club’s Flanders Poppy, which was designed by Major George Howson and is unique. It has raised money every year since 1923 for the Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal.

On Saturday, November 10, the auction raised a record bid of £2,200 and was increased further by a £560 collection on the night, thus providing the Poppy Appeal with much-needed funds.

The winning bid was made by Vera Gaul, of Cullercoats, in loving member of her late husband Joe, who was a member of the Durham Light Infantry and was also a long-standing member of the Comrades Club.