A 106-year-old volunteer who has dedicated decades of her life to fundraising for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has been made an MBE in the New Year Honours.
Anne Baker, who lives in Salisbury, Wiltshire, is honoured for charitable services, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
She was originally invited to join her local committee for the NSPCC in the city more than 60 years ago and has been involved in a range of fundraising events ever since.
Eleven years ago, aged 95, she decided to hold an annual coffee morning for her birthday in May – hand-writing her own invitations to large numbers of friends, relatives, neighbours and other local volunteers.
The events typically raise around £1,500 for the NSPCC but this year Mrs Baker, who has to shield, was unable to hold one due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Instead, she set up a JustGiving page with the intention of collecting donations from her usual guests to continue raising funds for the charity.
But her appeal attracted donations from a much wider range of people, from locations including Austria and the United States, and raised more than £4,000 in a short period of time.
Mrs Baker said it was a “great surprise and a great honour” to be made MBE.
“I’ve just been helping the NSPCC for about 50 years – I always have the party in my garden which normally makes about £1,000 a year, which is lovely,” she said.
“We couldn’t hold it this year but we still managed to raise £4,000 instead of having our usual party, so we were pleased and grateful to everyone who contributed to that.
“I love the NSPCC because they really look after families and I think that is so important, especially nowadays when we are going through such difficult times.
“This last year the NSPCC has worked wonders and I’m really grateful to them.”
Caroline Morgan, NSPCC supporter fundraising manager, described the news that Mrs Baker had been made an MBE as “truly wonderful”.
“Anne has such spirit and determination that not even a global pandemic would stop her fundraising for her favourite charity,” she said.
“And this year, with the country in lockdown and so many events cancelled, we have needed the support of people like Anne more than ever.
“Volunteers are the lifeblood of the NSPCC. With 90% of our income generated by voluntary donations we could not carry out our work without their support.
“Anne has been awarded this honour for her stalwart determination to help children and for adapting her fundraising when Covid-19 restrictions were placed on us.
“We thank Anne from the bottom of our hearts for so many decades of loyal support. Anne is an inspiration to us all, her smile lights up any room and her caring for children everywhere is hugely appreciated.”