TWO award-winning Morpeth community champions have celebrated their golden wedding anniversary.
And Jim and Rhona Dunn used the occasion to show their caring side by raising more than £2,500 for a good cause.
The couple met as teenagers in North Seaton and were married in their early 20s before moving to Morpeth soon after.
Already well-known in the town through their roles with Morpeth Boys Brigade and as members of Morpeth Methodist Church, they put in hours of effort to help victims of the September 2008 flood.
In their main roles, Rhona helped to run the furniture depot – which was located at Coopies Lane, Pegswood Industrial Estate and Northgate Hospital – with Morpeth Rotary Club members and Jim transported hundreds of items from it to residents’ temporary accommodation.
They received local, national and international awards for what they did.
A day after their 50th anniversary, which was celebrated with family members, the Dunns held an open house event at their home in Loansdean and guests were asked to make a donation to ShelterBox, an international disaster relief charity.
A total of £2,731 was collected and it will fund five ShelterBoxes to support those who have been displaced following natural disasters.
Each one contains a relief tent for an extended family, water purification equipment, a stove, blankets and other items.
Jim said: “We have done volunteer work all our lives and we do it because we want to do it. It has helped that we have shared interests and been involved with the same organisations.
“After the floods, there were many people in Morpeth who chipped in and the way the community pulled together was fantastic.
“This was shown in a smaller way by the response we had to our open house event. We were amazed with how much money was donated.”
“I’m an organiser and Jim is always there as my back-up,” said Rhona.
“During the flood relief effort, I said Jim would do this and that and I always knew I could rely on him.
“The open house lasted almost 12 hours and it was great to see so many people – Jim met someone he hadn’t seen for 40 years. We are very grateful to everyone who made a contribution.”
Rhona worked as a teacher in three Northumberland high schools, as well as for the prison service, and Jim was a lecturer at Northumberland College in Ashington for 27 years.
Jim was Captain of Morpeth Boys Brigade for 25 years and Rhona was also heavily involved with the national Boys Brigade organisation.
She trained officers across the country and is an honorary Vice-President.
At Morpeth Methodist Church, Rhona did pastoral work and produced a newsletter in conjunction with St George’s URC while Jim was Chairman of the property section and helped to maintain the Howard Terrace building.
On reaching their golden wedding anniversary, Rhona said: “We have been so busy over the years that the time has flown by, it doesn’t feel like 50 have gone.”
The couple have a son, John, daughter, Lesley, and five grandchildren.