Beccles woman who helped raise over £120,000 for charity dies

Sylvia Porter and her husband Michael raised more than £122,000 for Norfolk Deaf Childrens' Society.

Sylvia Porter and her husband Michael raised more than £122,000 for Norfolk Deaf Childrens' Society. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A Beccles woman who dedicated 35 years of her life raising £120,000 for charity has died.

Sylvia Porter passed away from pneumonia aged 74 on March 28 and was known throughout Norfolk and Suffolk for the picture postcards and stamps she sold with her husband Michael.

After inheriting her father’s postcard collection, Mrs Porter turned her avid interest into a fundraising idea in 1981 to help support youngsters with hearing problems.

To date the couple raised £110, 147.55 for the Norfolk Deaf Children’s Society through collecting and selling postcards and stamps and a further £12,636.32 for local charities by organising talks, videos and dog shows.

Mrs Porter was taken ill about four weeks ago with a cough that didn’t subside.

Mr Porter said: “Two courses of antibiotics and two courses of steroids didn’t help. She was eventually taken into ward nine at the James Paget University Hospital. She was there for 19 days before she died. The staff there were absolutely fantastic.

“I’ve had over 100 cards and when she was in hospital anywhere between 12 and 15 phone calls in the evening. People have been really fantastic and supportive to me and they still are.”

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Mrs Porter was born in Beccles and went to Peddars Lane School, Crowfoot School and Beccles County Modern where she was head girl.

She began her working life at Eastern Coachworks in Lowestoft before she moved to William Clowes in Beccles, working in the estimating department, and as a typist for Burke Books in Northgate.

She and Mr Porter married at St Michael’s Church on October 31, 1964, after meeting on a coach on the way to Butlin’s Holiday Park in Bognor Regis three years previously.

The couple have helped to produce two books using postcards from their own collection with royalties shared between Beccles Hospital, the Friends of All Hallows Hospital in Ditchingham and the May Centre in Beccles to help purchase a new minibus.

Mrs Porter was a member of the Beccles and District Flower Arrangers Club for more than 30 years alongside her husband, a member of the Norfolk Postcard Club and Worlingham Women’s Institute.

The couple also enjoyed The Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace in 2008 for their services to charity.

Mr Porter said: “She was fantastic, a brilliant companion and we did just about everything together. She was friendly, helpful, kind and she always had time for people. Someone wrote in one of the cards about her being a real lady, and she was.

“She liked to help others, she just enjoyed it. She spent a lot of time sorting the cards at our table. The first world war silks were her favourites and of course the Beccles ones.

“We started in September 1981 when the late Joan Lynch said they had started a £30,000 appeal for phonic ears. After we got to £5,293.33 the government started to pay for them so we went onto equipment for the children. She would have wanted me to continue doing the postcards, so I will.”

Postcards can still be handed into our Norwich office for Mr Porter to receive.

Mr Porter will be attending the postcard and stamp fair organised by the Norfolk and Norwich Philatelic Society taking place at the Hewett School in Norwich tomorrow.

Mrs Porter’s funeral takes place on April 18, at All Saints Church in Worlingham at 11am. No flowers, but donations to the Dogs Trust are welcome.