Betty’s special day
ONE of Prospect Hospice’s longest- serving collectors was the centre of attention yesterday as she celebrated her 90th birthday.
Betty McNeil has been collecting charity boxes for the Wroughton-based charity for more than 30 years.
Since 1981 she has ensured all her friends, family and neighbours have a collection box at home or in their workplace.
It is thought Betty, who lives in Wroughton, has collected more than £30,000 – and she shows no signs of stopping.
She said: “It’s absolutely amazing how much money you can collect just through small amounts of change.
“There is one gentleman who I collect for who saves the spare change from his newspaper every morning. Every six months I get about £40 to £60.
“I have family as far away as Bradford and Carlisle who each have a charity box. As long as I can still put one foot in front of the other I’m going to keep doing it.”
The great-grandmother of 17 is not sure why she started helping Prospect, but over the years family and friends have benefited from the charity.
“I think it was just because I was aware of them. so decided to do something,” said Betty.
“Last year a close family friend was diagnosed with cancer and he didn’t want to go to the hospice, so the nurses came to him.
“The charity does such fantastic work for so many people.”
Last weekend Betty was joined by close relatives and friends for a meal, and yesterday she spent the day with her three children.
Representatives from Prospect also joined Betty to say thank you for all her hard work.
Gifty Tawiah, who is in charge of box collections for Prospect, said: “Betty has been absolutely fantastic for us.
“She is exactly the kind of person we need, who has found the perfect way to do something for Prospect that suits her lifestyle.”
The charity is still looking for people who can collect boxes around Swindon, especially in the north of the town.
Gifty said: “People like Betty make such a difference. Each year we raise about £100,000 from the collection boxes.
“The small amount of change may not seem like much but it all adds up.”
Anybody wanting to become a collector is invited to visit www.prospect-hospice.net or call 01793 813355.
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