The pair donned the Royal British Legion’s new plastic-fee poppies, now on sale, as they urged the public to wear a flower in support ahead of this year’s Remembrance Sunday commemorations on November 12.
As Maisie handed John one of poppies, a smiling John told her: “It’s wonderful that you have joined the appeal to distribute these brilliantly designed, environmentally friendly poppies.”
Maisie was fascinated by John’s sparkling medals and was keen to learn where he had served.
Standing without a walking stick, he told her: “When I was 13, a year older than you are now, I joined the Royal Navy and trained at Dartmouth in Devon, which is near your home in Plymouth.”
Maisie, who puts large poppies on lampposts in her street, said to him: “I’m very proud of what you did during the war. I’m going to tell my neighbours I met you.”
John replied: “I’m proud of everything you are doing. It’s very heartening to see young people like you taking part in the Poppy Appeal. I’ve been wearing a poppy for more than 70 years.
Maisie, whose father James Mead, 38, served with the Royal Logistics Corps, puts large poppies on lampposts where she lives in Plymouth every year.
She said: “We give poppies to all the 162 properties in our street so everybody wears them.
“I also set up a garden of remembrance on a bit of grass in our road. I love the Poppy Appeal.”
Former Royal Navy captain John patrolled the coast of Normandy to prevent German ships from leaving the French port of Le Havre during the D-Day landings in June 1944.
The seaman was aboard the destroyer HMS Serapis which was heavily involved in securing safe sea routes for Arctic convoys during World War Two.
Maisie and John were invited to the Royal British Legion’s poppy-making factory in Aylesford, near Maidstone, Kent, yesterday, where 32 million of the new poppies are being made for distribution across the country.
They were joined by Lance Corporal Ashley Martin, who serves with the army’s Royal Army Medical Corps.
The 29-year-old said: “The Royal British Legion helped me get back on my feet when I was going through a rough patch by providing food vouchers and financial support.”
He added: “They do a brilliant job but they need support.”
Maisie’s two grandfathers, both in their 50s, served in conflicts including wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
She told John: “I’m very proud of what you did during the war. I’m going to tell my neighbours I met you.”
He replied: “I’m proud of everything you are doing. It’s very heartening to see young people like you taking part in the Poppy Appeal.”
The Royal British Legion’s eco-design is the first change to the iconic design in 28 years.
All monies raised will support service people and their families.
Actress Dame Joanna Lumley, who is supporting the Poppy Appeal, told the Daily Express: “The Armed Forces make sacrifices every day so we can enjoy our freedoms and way of life.