A BRADFORD poppy seller said he was stunned to be handed an envelope containing £1,000 from a man who asked to remain anonymous.

Carl Harris, 37, collected the cash from a mystery benefactor while he was collecting for the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal at the Asda supermarket on Rooley Lane, Bradford.

The man approached Mr Harris and gave him a white envelope with the large donation, which was divided up into £20 notes.

The benefactor left and Mr Harris went to one of the supermarket’s counters to verify the money with staff at around 11am on Friday, November 11.

It then took two collection tins to fill up the 50 donated notes.

Mr Harris, of Pickles Lane, Wibsey, was collecting for the appeal at the supermarket for the two weeks leading up to Remembrance Sunday.

He was a former soldier himself, having served in the Prince of Wales’s Own Regiment of Yorkshire between 1998 and 2001, including time in Northern Ireland.

Mr Harris, who now works as a self-employed security guard, said: “I was speechless when it happened. I was flabbergasted and gobsmacked.

“It was one of those moments that you don’t expect.

“It makes you proud to be British.

“I did not even have the chance to say thank you to him. I didn’t have the chance to give him a poppy.

“Never in a million years did I expect to get £1,000. People sometimes give £5, £10 or £20 notes but never that much. That is the most I have ever been given.

“You hear about famous people giving donations like this but I’ve never heard of a normal person coming off the streets and giving that much money in one go.”

The mystery man returned to the supermarket the following day and Mr Harris approached him and then had a chance to say thank you for the donation.

The benefactor told Mr Harris he was retired and served as a soldier in the Army for 22 years. He said he came into money and wanted to give something back to the armed forces.

Mr Harris said: “The day after he came back back into the supermarket and was doing his shopping.

“I remembered what he looked like and I asked him. He said ‘yes, that was me’ and I said thank you to him.

“He told me he was an ex-soldier who did 22 years’ service in the Army. He then got a job on Civvy Street.

“He also said he wanted to give something back to the lads.”

The total amount raised by this year’s Poppy Appeal in the Bradford district will not be announced until later this month.

Colin Robinson, chairman of the Royal British Legion Low Moor and Wyke Branch, also gave his thanks to the mystery man for his donation to the appeal.

He said: “It was unbelievable. It took two tins to fill the notes into.

“I would like to thank the man who gave us the money very much.

“While we appreciate any donation at this time of the year, to give such a large amount and want no thanks really makes us feel so humble.”

Anyone with any further information on the mystery benefactor, or the man himself, can call Mr Robinson on 01274 604140.