Special gift presented to Beccles fundraiser in honour of 36 years of support for charity
- Credit: Archant
A Beccles fundraiser who has collected and sold picture postcards with his late wife for more than 35 years has been awarded a special gift for their dedication.
Michael Porter, now 80, started raising funds for the Norfolk Children's Deaf Society with his wife Sylvia in September 1981 after the charity launched a £30,000 appeal to buy phonic ear devices.
Together the couple would collect, sort and sell the postcards at local events, and after the sad death of his wife in March 2016, Mr Porter vowed to continue fundraising.
And in appreciation of 36 years of support and donations totalling just over £116,000, the Norfolk Children's Deaf Society presented Mr Porter with a special vase engraved with their names and a message of thanks at their Annual General Meeting.
Mr Porter said: 'I was overwhelmed. It really took my breath away.
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'I haven't got Sylvia with me now and it was her who did a lot of the work, so it's such a nice memento to keep.
'I really enjoy doing it and while I've got my health and strength and I want to keep going.'
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The funds raised were initially used for the phonic ear devices, which were not paid for by the government at the time.
Mr Porter said: 'Once we got to £5,293.33, the government then decided that they would pay for them, so Sylvia and I decided to spread the money around. 'But then the society told us they could do with equipment to help the children at school and at home, so we carried on for that.'
Mr Porter has a number of regular customers who look out for him at fairs as well as postal customers who he sends postcards to including in Wales and the Isle of Man.
Mr Porter said: 'I would like to thank everyone who has supported us over the years, donating and buying the postcards, because without them we wouldn't be able to do it.'
Prior to selling postcards, the couple also raised around £12,000 for local charities by hosting dog shows and giving talks to community groups, as well as producing two books.
Last year Mr Porter was honoured with an award for Unsung Hero of the Year at the Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney Awards held at the Hotel Victoria. He picked up the award alongside charity baker David Brown, and was presented with a Christmas bauble personalised with Mrs Porter's name.
Mr Porter's postcard collection includes both old and new, scenes of Norfolk and Suffolk, stamped, unstamped and everything in between.
He is supported by Evening News columnist Derek James, Radio Norfolk and Stamps At Bagleys in Norwich, all of whom promote his work and collect postcards for him to sell.
Mr Porter is also a member of the Norfolk Postcard Club, which meets on the second Wednesday of every month at the White Horse in Trowse at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. The group is keen to attract more members and everyone is welcome.
Mr Porter will be selling postcards at the Norwich Postcard Fair on Saturday, September 30, from 10am to 4.30pm at St Andrews Hall in Norwich. Admission costs £1 and more information is available from 01787 370406.
He also sells postcards at the Norfolk and Norwich Philatelic Society fairs twice a year.
Anyone who would like to donate postcards can hand them in at our Eastern Daily Press office in Rouen Road, Norwich, for Mr Porter to collect.