Worlingham couple raise over �100,000 for Norfolk and Suffolk charities

A Waveney couple who have dedicated years of their lives to raising money for Norfolk and Suffolk charities are celebrating passing the �100,000 barrier.

Michael and Sylvia Porter, of Ellough Road, Worlingham, have spent many hours sorting through countless numbers of postcards as part of an effort to help deaf children across Norfolk. But they have also helped many more charities across the Waveney region with dog shows, talks, videos and books raising money for good causes since 1973.

And at the end of 2011 their annual count-up revealed that they have now raised a total of �101,531.87.

The couple are best known for selling postcards for the Norfolk Deaf Children's Society. Every week Mrs Porter, 70, spends hours sorting through postcards that are donated at the offices of the EDP, in Norwich, and Radio Norfolk, or dropped off at their house. The postcards are divided into a number of categories, with particular ones kept aside for customers, while others taken to fairs where collectors buy them.

Mrs Porter inherited her father's sister's postcard collection in 1973, but the interest was only turned into a fundraising idea when the couple were inspired in 1981 by a friend's deaf daughter.

They heard about the Norfolk Deaf Children's Society's work and started raising money for them by selling donated postcards. They made their first donation of �1.15 in 1981.

Decades later, they have helped to raise over �83,000 for the charity, and their efforts have been recognised with thank-you cards as well as an invitation to the Queen's garden party at Buckingham Palace in 2004 and being awarded the Robert Ellwood Memorial Plate from Beccles Town Council.

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Mr Porter, 74, said: 'We don't think about it, we're just happy to be able to help people. We don't set a target, we never have. We take life as it comes and do what we can while we can.'

Before this, the couple had already held other fundraising events after being inspired to help others when Mrs Porter's father was ill.

As keen members of the Norfolk and Norwich Canine Society they decided to hold a charity dog show in Beccles, and it proved so popular they continued from 1973 to 1984, raising money for a variety of charities including All Hallows Hospital in Ditchingham, the Friends of Beccles Hospital and the St John Ambulance.

Although they stopped to concentrate on the postcards, they have raised money for many other charities with talks about their postcards and books on Beccles and Bungay. Among the charities to benefit recently are Beccles May Centre, Waveney Stardust, Waveney Enterprise Workshop, Beccles Sea Cadets, Waveney Centre and Beccles Royal British Legion Welfare Fund.

richard.wood@archant.co.uk

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