Beccles fundraiser, 80, honoured with award by prime minister Theresa May for "tremendous dedication"
Archant © 2017
A man who has devoted more than 35 years to fundraising for a charity which supports deaf children has been honoured with an award by the prime minister.
In a personal letter to 80-year-old Michael Porter of Worlingham, near Beccles, Theresa May praised his “tremendous dedication and generosity”, bestowing on him the Points of Light award.
The award recognises outstanding volunteers who are making a change in their community and inspiring others.
And since 1981, Mr Porter and his late wife Sylvia, who passed away in March 2016, have raised £117,281 for the Norfolk Deaf Children’s Society by collecting and selling picture postcards.
Originally setting out to support a £30,000 appeal by the society to provide phonic ear implants, Mr and Mrs Porter maintained their commitment to the charity, raising further funds towards equipment such as deaf-accessible smoke alarms or specialised school supplies.
In her letter the prime minister said: “The money you have raised has had a transformational impact for thousands of children, providing resources that would not have been possible without your extraordinary commitment.”
Mr Porter said he was shocked but extremely proud to received the award.
“When I first got the phone call from London I thought someone was pulling my leg,” he said.
“In September 1981, Sylvia and I took our first donation of £1.15 and we just put it in a little shoebox and it has all snowballed from there.
“I’m accepting this award on behalf of Sylvia and myself.”
The award was presented by Waveney MP Peter Aldous, with Beccles mayor Richard Stubbings and Waveney District Council leader Mark Bee also attending to offer their congratulations.
Mr Aldous said: “Raising more than £116,000 over 36 years for Norfolk Deaf Children’s Society is something he did alongside his late wife and is truly inspiring. He has done this by selling hundreds of thousands of postcards. Michael has also raised money for other good causes in Beccles as well, which makes this award even more appropriate.”
Mr Porter sells his postcards at three fairs each year as well as having postal customers.
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.