Congratulations to long-standing volunteer fundraiser, Mary Cutler, who has received a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s Honours List. Mary, 77, from St Albans, has been fundraising for Rennie Grove Hospice Care (formerly Grove House) for over 20 years. During that time, she and her late friend and fellow fundraiser, Margaret Hill, raised over £50,000 for the charity.
Mary says: “Margaret and I started off our fundraising for the local scout group and before we knew it, our sons were 30! So we looked around for another local good cause and Grove House, as it was then, was in its infancy so we decided to get involved.
“Between us, we would make jumpers, aprons and soft toys and friends and neighbours would donate items for us to sell. We had stalls, mainly in schools in the early days, where we would hold tombolas. And for several years we manned a stall at the Herts County Show. We also had a weekly stall at St Albans City Hospital, something I’ve kept going. I’ll be there on 28 January from 8:30am till about 3pm and on the last Thursday of every month throughout the year!”
Mary never misses a chance to fundraise for the charity close to her heart. In December she held a sale in her house and made nearly £500, and she also sells Rennie Grove’s Christmas cards and raffle tickets at every opportunity.
Nicola MacKinnon, Community Fundraising Manager for Rennie Grove, echoes the sentiments of all the staff: “We’re thrilled that Mary’s tireless work over two decades has been officially acknowledged in this way. Not only is she raising vital funds, but also crucial awareness in the local community about our service. It’s thanks to the dedication of people like Mary that we’ve been able to help so many families in need.”
Mary adds: “I didn’t open the letter straight away when it arrived. The envelope said the ‘Cabinet Office’ and looked very official. I thought I’d done something wrong! It was a wonderful surprise when I finally opened it. I have a lot of fun doing what I do for Rennie Grove – I meet loads of people and have a good laugh – but it’s lovely to be recognised. I even have a friend who curtsies whenever she sees me now!”