Alphonse sits right in front of me, leaning against the wall behind my laptop. I often find myself looking at him, and thinking of his origins.
The annual Red Cross Ball, which is held in some swanky Park Lane hotel, has been taking place for decades. As far as I know my mother only went once which was when she found/bought Alphonse.
These events are mostly for fund-raising, and the guests are chosen from amongst the rich and famous; who have plenty of 'funds' available. How, or why, my parents ended-up attending one I have no idea. My mother was a Red Cross Nurse during the war, but I have no idea if there was any connection, I somehow presume there must have been. My people were 'comfortable', but they certainly weren't amongst the glitzy rich.
Money is raised for the Red Cross from the sale of tickets and an auction of donated items. Alphonse was amongst the auction lots when my mother was there. She made a bid, and was successful.
All I know about him is that he is supposedly dressed as a British Prisoner of War under the Japanese, with a straw hat and straw shoes. I imagine money was being raised to send-out food parcels to our men there.
Alphonse must have been purchased in about 1943 or 4. I was born in 1946 and he was given to me. This makes Alphonse almost 80 years old. The Poppy was my own addition.
I do hope someone looks after him when I'm gone.