Tributes to Elsie's fundraising
JUST over 20 years ago, pensioner Elsie Bowden had to watch as her 12-year-old grandson Andrew bravely fight against leukaemia.Mrs Bowden began running a stall selling bric-a-brac and cakes and continued her good cause after her grandson lost his battle in 1984.
JUST over 20 years ago, pensioner Elsie Bowden had to watch as her 12-year-old grandson Andrew bravely fight against leukaemia.
Mrs Bowden began running a stall selling bric-a-brac and cakes and continued her good cause after her grandson lost his battle in 1984.
And on Friday , Mrs Bowden retired from running the monthly stall in Haverhill having raised £47,000 for the Leukaemia Society.
Mrs Bowden said: "My heart was in it because I had a purpose and I had seen what leukaemia can do.
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"I started raising money in 1982 after my grandson Andrew was diagnosed with leukaemia – he died in 1984 at the age of 12.
"My whole family went through such a terrible time when my grandson was ill, I just hope they find a cure before I die."
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Mrs Bowden estimated she had raised about £2,000 every year just from sales at the stall and a donation box – and she admitted she would miss the monthly event.
She said: "It was quite emotional saying goodbye and I came home and had a good cry. I thought now was the right time to step down while I still feel all right.
"I just got into it, it was my interest and when I lost my husband 11 years ago, I found it someway of getting enjoyment."
Elsie paid tribute to her host of helpers and customers over the years. She said: "I only raised so much because people were so kind in buying things and giving money.
"The people who gave money in my collection tin have been so good. Even when they didn't want to buy anything, they would still give money.
"I would like to thank all my customers and helpers, without them I couldn't have done it."
Despite retiring from running the stall, Elsie has not given up the charity habit just yet. She said: "My son wants me to just relax now but I will still keep fundraising as I sell a lot of knitting and give that money to charity."
West Suffolk MP Richard Spring, who presented Elsie with flowers and a certificate to mark her retirement, said: "Mrs Bowden is a remarkable lady.
"She has raised a phenomenal sum of money over many years through her stall in Haverhill market, all of which she has given to the Leukaemia Society which is an outstanding achievement and act of giving on her part.
"It is an honour for me to have been asked to make this special presentation to Mrs Bowden which she most thoroughly deserves."