Maisie’s key to the door

Maisie Polwarth from Morpeth who is 91 and is holding her 21st coffee morning for Macmillian.
Maisie Polwarth from Morpeth who is 91 and is holding her 21st coffee morning for Macmillian.
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A MORPETH charity champion is getting ready for a 21st birthday party — at the age of 91.

Maisie Polwarth has been a stalwart of Macmillan Cancer Support’s annual World’s Biggest Coffee Morning fund-raisers since they began, hosting her own event every year.

However, last year, after contracting shingles the week before the big event and with failing eyesight making it ever more difficult to organise, she decided it would be her final coffee morning for the charity.

But with the help of friends and family, Mrs Polwarth will not be bowing out after all and is looking forward to her usual party tomorrow when Macmillan celebrates the 21st anniversary of the scheme.

“It has just been one of my charities over the years and I want to support it,” she said. “When someone came with the Macmillan things for the coffee morning this year they said I didn’t have to do it again, but I told them to leave them and if I wasn’t going to do it I would get in touch.

“When I mentioned it to my different helpers they said why not go ahead and were willing to carry on so I decided to do it again.

“I felt sure that there would be so many people who would just expect it to be here anyway so it would have been more work getting round everyone to tell them it wasn’t on than to go ahead and have it.”

Mrs Polwarth originally took part in the fund-raiser to get to know her neighbours, but the popularity of her event has grown year-on-year and now she is welcoming guests from near and far.

“It is just one of the things I have always done in Morpeth,” she said.

“I used to have coffee mornings for the neighbours so I just fell straight into it. It was just friends and family and the neighbours at first, but gradually it got bigger as people got to know about it.

“Last year at Fair Day I got taking to some of the bikers from the parade and told them about my big coffee morning for Macmillan. I had to miss my coffee morning last year because of my shingles, but my daughter ran it for me and she said the bikers came along for it.

“I’m hoping they will come again this year because I was tickled pink when she told me they had been. I didn’t think they would have remembered.

“There was also a £50 note in the box last year from someone so that was a lovely amount for the charity in one go.”

Money raised from the event helps to fund Macmillan’s nurses and therapists, benefits advisers, cancer campaigners, information centres and the expert telephone and online support services.

Mrs Polwarth will also hold a bring and buy sale this year in aid of Guide Dogs.

Her fundraiser will take place at 3 Millside, Morpeth, from 10am to 1pm tomorrow (Friday).

Meanwhile, shoppers at Morpeth’s Marks and Spencer store will be in for a surprise as Section Manager Caroline Davison takes to a bath of coffee in support of the national event.

Her four-hour giant cuppa challenge takes place outside the food hall from 10am

“I’m really looking forward to it and hope people will support me and help me raise as much money as we can for Macmillan,” she said.

The store in Sanderson Arcade is also hosting its own coffee morning.

Other events in the area include coffee and cake at the Leeds Building Society in Bridge Street at 10am tomorrow, and a coffee morning at Heighley Gate Nursery and Garden Centre, off the A697, from 9am to noon.

For details of other coffee mornings visit www.macmillan.org.uk/coffee