Legendary Derbyshire poppy seller who turned mobility scooter into tank dies

A poppy seller famous for turning his mobility scooter into a chariot and maneuvering it around a Derbyshire town center has sadly passed away.

Eddie Wadsworth spared no effort to convert his vehicle, named Rascal, which came complete with tracks, a big gun and rockets, as he sold poppies ahead of the annual Remembrance Sunday commemorations in Swadlincote.

He made headlines across the country, appearing on national TV shows including BBC Breakfast, and he even turned down an in-person appearance on This Morning and Lorraine, saying it wouldn’t have been practical. to bring his tank to the ITV studios for filming.

READ MORE: Get the latest Swadlincote stories from Derbyshire Live

Now the Swadlincote and District Royal British Legion have shared the sad news that he has died aged 87, Live reports from Staffordshire.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “It is my sad duty to inform you that our celebrated volunteer Mr Eddie Wadsworth has passed away.

“Eddie has been a huge supporter of Swadlincote and District RBL and the Poppy Appeal for many years but shot to national and international fame in 2019 when he revealed his mobility scooter tank – Rascal to the world.

“Eddie became an overnight sensation, appearing in almost every newspaper across the country. His creation was featured on local and national television, including BBC Breakfast, and it also took the internet by storm with clips and images viewed millions of times.

“Eddie was extremely happy when we informed him that due to all the interest, we had received a message from a French-based online gambling site Tank who generously donated 1,000 euros to our Poppy Appeal.

“Eddie will be sorely missed by all of his family and friends, and everyone who enjoyed seeing all of his amazing creations.”

Mr Wadsworth, who lived in Darklands Road in the town, spoke to Staffordshire Live in November 2019 while on his scooter, explaining he had been making his timber-framed cardboard tank since June this year.

Eddie Wadsworth transformed his mobility scooter into this float in which he traveled around Swadlincote while selling poppies for the Royal British Legion.

He painted the tank green and brown camouflage, and it had a big cardboard gun on the front and fake rockets. He even added some upbeat military music to his creation, so everyone heard it coming through downtown.

His dedication to the charity started because he wanted to do something to repay the kindness he received from the Swadlincote branch when his father John was killed in action in World War II.

He died in 1944 in Anzio, Italy, when he was only 34 years old. John was only seven years old at the time, but remembered well the support his family received.

Even during lockdown, when he couldn’t leave the house, Mr Wadsworth kept busy making a model, with rotating soldiers, to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Allied victory in World War Two .

It included members of the Armed Forces riding around a turnstile – and he even included a small model of himself in his famous float.

He put his years of experience as a carpenter to good use to realize all his creations.

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Mr Wadsworth previously told Staffordshire Live: “Nothing is more rewarding than doing something useful – something that works and makes others happy.

“It’s about trying to do something and then people like it, it’s enjoyable and rewarding. It’s better than money.”

Mr. Wadsworth was well known in the town and had lived in Swadlincote all his life.

His funeral will be on Monday, March 21 at 2:15 p.m. at Bretby Crematorium.

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