He’s tops in poppy money

Second World War veteran and former Cloverdale resident surpasses his own canvassing record for the Kelowna Legion.

Poppy Power: Veteran Syd Pratt raised more than $33

At the age of 90, a former resident of Cloverdale is a powerhouse fundraiser for the Royal Canadian Legion’s annual poppy campaign.

Back in November, Second World War veteran Syd Pratt topped his own amazing fundraising record, single-handedly collecting $33,660 for the cause.

In 2009, he raised an already impressive $28,500 by selling the small red plastic poppies in the Kelowna area – one fifth of all the poppy funds raised by Branch 26 that year.

With numbers like that, it’s little wonder he’s been elected treasurer for 2011.

Pratt has been part of the poppy campaign each year for the past 20 years, surpassing his amount each time.

He collected $4,000 that first year, canvassing businesses on Kelowna’s Bernard Avenue.

“Every year he’s tried to beat the previous year,” his stepdaugher Sharon Anderson of Cloverdale said. “He’s so dedicated. He just loves it.”

Now he covers all of downtown Kelowna along with swaths of a commercial area along Highway 97.

He canvasses Monday to Friday, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., for about six or seven weeks before Remembrance Day.

Pratt, who turns 91 in April, was a familiar face to many in Cloverdale, his home before he retired and moved to Kelowna. He worked at the Cloverdale Raceway, now known as Fraser Downs, and was involved with the Cloverdale Rodeo fairgrounds, Anderson said.

Poppy funds are used to support veterans and their families.