Tributes paid to 'amazing' Betty who spent more than 40 years fundraising

Torchbearer Betty Brown carries the Olympic flame through Filby. Picture: Denise Bradley

Betty Brown proudly carried the Olympic torch through Filby - Credit: Archant

Tributes have been paid to an inspirational charity fundraiser who dedicated more than 40 years of her life supporting good causes.

Betty Brown died aged 89 in the St Elizabeth Hospice in Beccles on Friday, April 22.

The former teacher from Scratby, near Great Yarmouth, had dedicated her life to fundraising since the 1970s, with her efforts celebrated across the borough.

Betty Brown raised £1,120 for Marie Curie Nurses by doing 12 laps of her garden.

Betty Brown celebrates raising funds for Marie Curie - Credit: Archant

While she was 18 at teaching training college she contracted polio, leading to her being put in an iron lung and having callipers.

She learnt to live with the effects of the disease and embarked in the 1970s on raising funds for polio, disability and cancer charities by giving talks and through her craftwork.

In 2012 Mrs Brown became the pride of the borough when she carried the London Olympic Torch through the neighbouring village of Filby, where she was given a hero's welcome by the large crowds lining its roads.

Val Everett, right, takes the Olympic flame from torchbearer Betty Brown ready to carry it through F

Val Everett, right, takes the Olympic flame from torchbearer Betty Brown ready to carry it through Filby. - Credit: Archant

She had also made it to the Pride of Britain Award finals in 2017 for her fundraising efforts, saying the highlight was meeting singers Michael Ball and Alife Boe.

Great Yarmouth Sports Awards. Betty Brown, Inspirational Sports Personality. Picture: submit

Betty Brown won a Great Yarmouth Sports Award for her inspirational efforts - Credit: Submitted

In May 2020 she was told she had cancer, however it did not stop her determination to keep on raising funds.

She went on to swim 100 laps of the Phoenix Pool and Gym in Bradwell to raise £3,365 for Marie Curie.

Disabled Betty Brown, 88, has raised tens of thousands of pounds for charity over some 50 years and

Betty Brown was a keen swimmer - Credit: supplied by Lynn Hewett

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She has also raised £1,250 for the charity by doing laps in her wheelchair around her garden in lockdown.

Ahead of her garden lap challenge she had said: “I still like to do my daredevil antics and I am going until I run out of steam because they need the funding."

Her efforts led to her being awarded the Fundraising Excellence Award by Marie Curie.

Mrs Brown was one of the founders of the Marina Centre Physically Disabled Swim Club in Great Yarmouth.

In recognition of her role at the club she was awarded a Great Yarmouth Sports Award.

Lynn Hewett, secretary of the swimming club, said it had been hoped Mrs Brown would attend the opening of the £26m Marina Centre revamp in the summer.

She added: "She was inspirational. She was very happy and positive and always wanted to help people."

Mrs Brown also showed a daredevil spirit by piloting a glider, going on a hot air balloon and being winched up the mast of a tall ship.

Betty Brown became a crew member on the tall ship, Tenacious, during a race to France. Her experien

Betty Brown became a crew member on the tall ship, Tenacious, during a race to France. Her experience included being winched to the crows nest in her wheel chair. - Credit: Supplied

Born in a Great Yarmouth Row, she was married in 1957 to Eddie. They had met after he came to service typewriters at the school she was working at.

Mr Brown died in 1995 and the couple had no children.

Mrs Brown was the youngest of five siblings, her older brothers being Victor, Stanley, Roy and Maurice.

She has been deputy headteacher at Greenacre Primary School in Great Yarmouth and had to leave teaching in 1974 due to her disabilities.

Betty Brown took a flight in a specially converted glider. Pic: submitted

Betty Brown had taken a flight in a glider - Credit: Submitted

Her niece and goddaughter Donna Hofmann, 57, and who lives in Ormesby, said: "Unfortunately she never kept a total of how much she raised over the years.

"Obviously it was in the thousands what she raised in her lifetime. She would just send off the money and that was done and then move onto the next thing.

Betty Brown with her niece Donna Hofmann in 2012

Betty Brown with her niece Donna Hofmann in 2012 - Credit: Donna Hofmann

"She was amazing.

"She was just down the road from me. She was always there to talk to.

"She was an inspiration to all the family. What a legacy she has left behind.

Betty Brown who will be an olympic torch-bearer on its journey through Filby later this year.Pic

Betty Brown is seen looking forward to her Olympic Torch experience - Credit: Archant

"She had an amazing life and she touched and supported so many people in many different ways.

"She will forever be in all of our hearts."

Mrs Brown was also a member of the Welcoming Group at Scratby Village Hall and was a member and chairman of the Quill Creative Writing Group, which meets in the Newtown Methodist Church in Great Yarmouth.

A member from the group will be reading out a poem called Mermaid by Mrs Brown.

Paying tribute Sue Ellis, from the Quill Creative Writing Group, said: "She was a well-loved and cherished member of the group and we all admired her courage and bravery."

Torchbearer Betty Brown carries the Olympic flame through Filby. Picture: Denise Bradley

Torchbearer Betty Brown carries the Olympic flame through Filby. - Credit: Archant

The funeral service will be held at Christchurch in King Street, Great Yarmouth at 2.30pm on Thursday,May 26.

Would you like to pay tribute to Mrs Brown? Please email anthony.carroll@archant.co.uk

Betty Brown became a crew member on the tall ship, Tenacious, during a race to France. Her experien

Betty Brown became a crew member on the tall ship, Tenacious, during a race to France. Her experience included being winched to the crows nest in her wheel chair. - Credit: Supplied