Skerray woman's amazing 70 years as poppy appeal collector
A NORTH coast woman is stepping down as a collector for the poppy appeal after an amazing 70 years of service.
This will be Elizabeth (Babe) Mackay's final year travelling round her community collecting donations for Poppyscotland, the armed forces support charity. She will celebrate her 85th birthday on November 15.
The seven decades of volunteering began when Babe, of Skerray Post Office, left school at the age of 15. She was looking for something positive to do for her community and wrote to the Earl Haig Fund about becoming a collector.
In the lead-up to Armistice Day every year since she has been visiting all the houses in her area with her collecting tin.
To start off with she went round on her bike but later swapped this for a car and, in recent years, when her health has begun to fail her, has been helped on her annual circuit by her neighbour and friend Irene Macleod, of nearby Tubeg.
In spite of the drop in population, the amount given has constantly increased and her efforts regularly bring in over £100 annually.
When one hears of such a remarkable length of service it really does take one’s breath away.
Poppyscotland’s head of fundraising, Gordon Michie, said: “Elizabeth’s 70 years of dedication to the Poppyscotland cause is nothing short of remarkable. As an organisation, we are blessed to have so many wonderful volunteers, but when one hears of such a remarkable length of service it really does take one’s breath away.
"We would like to thank Elizabeth for all that she has done to help support Scotland’s armed forces community and we wish her all the very best for her future endeavours.”
Babe has also been active on behalf of Macmillan Cancer Support for many years with an annual coffee morning which has brought in several hundred pounds each time.
Although she plans to retire from collecting she is still on the search for excitement. She has never fulfilled her ambition to fly into space, but is looking forward to rockets being launched from the proposed space port on the Moine and hopes to be there to watch the first one.