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Still fundraising at 102

Friday, 22 March 2013

A BLACKHEATH woman has nominated her 102-year-old mother for an Our Heroes award for “being the oldest charity fundraiser in the country”.

Millicent Turnbull gives talks about her colourful life to help raise funds to help diabetes and cancer sufferers. She estimates she has raised between £2,000-£3,000 over the past four years.

Millicent, known to her friends as Millie, now lives in St Leonard’s-on-Sea in East Sussex, but she worked as an under housemaid in Eaton Square in Belgravia and was the youngest manageress for J Lyons Corner House in The Strand before moving to Kent where she married Cecil in 1937 – whom she met at the famous cafe.

Millie is regularly in Blackheath giving talks to raise money for The Blackheath Halls, Diabetes UK and Cancer Research UK. She was invited to speak by the charities after being recommended by her eldest daughter, Caroline Goodwin, who has lived in the village for 47 years, and knows members of Cancer Research UK and Blackheath Halls.

Caroline said: “I am nominating my dear mother Millicent Turnbull in recognition of her fundraising talks on her very eventful life.

“She is a natural speaker with a great rapport with her audience. When people meet her they are uplifted by her spirit and enthusiasm. It is hard to believe she is 102.

“Surely she must be the country’s oldest charity fundraiser.”

Among the topics Millie has in her repertoire are her childhood years, her time in service in London, being a nippy, the War years, champion hop-picker and a temporary fortune teller at the Harrietsham annual fete.

Caroline said: “The committee needed another fundraising side show for the fete so mother suggested she could be a fortune teller. “She dressed and made up and sat in her tent – but not so much fortune as past life was revealed. Her clients were amazed and paid for this information.

“When she was unmasked there were red faces all round. Is this not resourcefulness?”

The Our Heroes awards recognise the community champions who make our lives better, often with little reward. When Millie found out she had been nominated, she said: ‘‘I feel really chuffed.’’ Millie is due to speak on behalf of Cancer Research UK at The Clarendon Hotel, Blackheath on April 4.

She will also be talking at The Blackheath Halls in May.


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