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Duo's sale of the half-century

PUBLISHED: 10:12 20 October 2008 | UPDATED: 10:44 12 July 2010

SALE SUCCESS: Alice Blackburn, left, and Cynthia Housago.

SALE SUCCESS: Alice Blackburn, left, and Cynthia Housago.

They have been holding charity sales for 49 consecutive years and this week celebrate an amazing half-century.

Despite their advancing years, Pulham Market villagers Cynthia Housago and Alice Blackburn were determined not to give up until they had organised a staggering 50 annual fundraising sales for the South Norfolk Scope Association.

They have been holding charity sales for 49 consecutive years and this week celebrate an amazing half-century.

Despite their advancing years, Pulham Market villagers Cynthia Housago and Alice Blackburn were determined not to give up until they had organised a staggering 50 annual fundraising sales for the South Norfolk Scope Association.

And that goal will be realised at 2.30pm on Saturday when the doors open at the memorial hall, in the village near Diss, for the duo's 50th and last sale. For they have decided the time has finally come to call it a day.

“When we got to our 40th year

we said let's go to 45, and then to

50 although we might be on

our Zimmer frames! We have

had little celebrations along the

way but nothing comes out of

the money we raise. Even the

village hall is paid for by a supporter,” said Mrs Blackburn, 79, whose first child, Joy, had cerebral palsy.

Young women when they

started, the two pensioners are

now busily preparing for their

last sale - the thousands of

pounds they have raised for the charity over the decades standing as a tribute to their dedication and commitment.

Mrs Housago, 80, said: “We

have been to every one of the

sales although there have been

some narrow squeaks. It's been a happy event and we have had

some very good helpers. It's like a jigsaw puzzle, if you haven't got

all the pieces you can't complete

it.”

She started the ball rolling

by holding a fundraiser for the Norfolk and Norwich Spastic

Society with villager Anne

Hubbard, 52 years ago, following a talk about the charity at a local WI meeting. And Mrs Blackburn enlisted her help after moving to the village.

“Joy was born in 1956 and two years later I said to my husband, Peter: 'We really should do something to raise money to help other children'.

“I remembered that Cynthia had organised a sale previously, she agreed, and we have been doing it ever since with our band of helpers. There's about 40 on the list,” she said.

“I think why we had helpers coming to support us is they knew Joy. Although she was very severely handicapped, she was always in the forefront and we took her as many places as we could and she got known by people in the village. She died when she was 14 and people still remember her.”

Both families have been

actively involved in the fundraisers - the first bringing in £45, which was a goodly sum back in the 1950s, with about £1,000 the norm in recent years.

“We have sent on average £2,500 a year for Nansa (Norfolk and Norwich Scope Association) with other things we do.

“Nansa do some really marvellous work with young people at their unit, especially now with the mothers and babies - things we never had when I had my Joy,” Mrs Blackburn explained.

Saturday's sale will see a change

in format, with nearly new

clothes replacing the usual

jumble. Other attractions are homemade cakes, books, bric-a-brac, gifts, bottle stall, tombola, teas and a raffle.

The two women will be holding a party on November 15 as a thank you to the helpers who have supported them over the 50 years.

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