Poppy pin tribute to former president of Whitehead Royal British Legion

Sandy's family, Hilton McGregor, Paddy Hull and Linda and Brian McGregor.
Sandy's family, Hilton McGregor, Paddy Hull and Linda and Brian McGregor.

Whitehead Royal British Legion has commissioned a poppy pin in honour of former president Hector McGregor.

It was launched at Whitehead Community Centre on Saturday where the family of the late Mr McGregor, who was usually known as Sandy, was joined by Mid and East Antrim Council and RBL representatives.

Sandy aged 23  (the pic used to create the pin). INCT 30-791-CON

Sandy aged 23 (the pic used to create the pin). INCT 30-791-CON

In his address, Sandy’s son, Brian, spoke of the family’s appreciation of the tribute and thanked those who helped bring it to fruition.

“Our family are deeply honoured to be able to present this poppy badge in honour of our father who gave service to the war effort, to the people of Whitehead and to the Whitehead Branch of the Royal British Legion,” said Brian.

“Could I specially thank Steve Diamond, who is well known to you all as a local talented artist. Steve created the artwork for the badge.

“And also, could I thank Bill Dornan our esteemed branch chairman. Bill organised the production of the badge and also helped to obtain permission from headquarters for us to proceed with the project.

Sandy aged 90.

Sandy aged 90.

“Thanks also to the Whitehead Branch of the British Legion who gave this project their backing and assisted in the funding of the badge.”

A one-off run of 1,000 has been produced with a suggested a minimum donation of £3 per badge and all proceeds going to the Poppy Appeal.

Sandy McGregor joined the RAF in 1939, aged 19, and went on to be mentioned in despatches for his distinguished service as a radar mechanic. His wife Elsie also served at various radar stations in the UK. Later commissioned as Flying Officer, there were various postings before he took charge of all three radar stations at Portland Bill.

From there he was sent to Chigwell, where they were assembling mobile radio communications units and he was with the number one unit when it was sent to Rheims in France in January 1945 at the time when Hitler was in retreat.

The Poppy pin.

The Poppy pin.

Sandy spent the rest of the war in France and Germany restoring communications.

In 1972, the family moved to Whitehead and took up residence in the Corner House where Sandy set up a hardware shop.

A year after arriving in the seaside town, he joined the local branch of the British Legion, going on to serve 11 years as president, eight years as chairman, 11 years as honorary secretary and 28 years as poppy organiser.

In closing, Brian added: “It is a wonderful tribute to our late father who gave so much to the local branch. In fact If he was looking down at this he would probably be very embarrassed.

Councillor Maureen Morrow, Brian McGregor, Bill Dornan, chair of Whitehead RBL, Isobel Day, artist Steve Diamond and Councillor Mark McKinty.

Councillor Maureen Morrow, Brian McGregor, Bill Dornan, chair of Whitehead RBL, Isobel Day, artist Steve Diamond and Councillor Mark McKinty.

“Finally, as we gather here this morning to celebrate the launch of this badge let us also remember all the others who served and sacrificed.”