Christine Smith has dedicated more than 40 years to the RNIB plus countless other local and national charities

A Chulmleigh woman has dedicated more than four decades to fundraising for the RNIB and a host of charities.

Christine Smith, 84, began fundraising as a volunteer for the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) in 1974 while she worked at Chulmleigh Secondary Modern School, now Chulmleigh Academy.

Since then she has organised or helped with countless coffee mornings, sales, collections and competitions for the RNIB, continuing to this day.

She helped organise the school’s annual 10-mile walk on Dartmoor for the charity and when she retired in 1992, the RNIB asked her to stay on as a volunteer to empty the distinctive ‘Sooty’ collection boxes and run a popular cuddly toy competition.

The RNIB’s Barrie Goodfellow recently visited Chulmleigh to present her with an award for her many years of service.

He said it is thought she had raised at least £100,000.

Christine said: “I think blindness must be a terrible thing and if you can help people, you should.”

“I like organising and I really enjoy doing it – over the years I have raised a huge amount, but I could not have done it on my own, we had lots of helpers.”

Christine, who is married to Arthur, has also worked tirelessly for many other good causes including Barnstaple Hospital League of Friends, Wembworthy Church, Macmillan and Help for Heroes.

Since 1982, her ‘partner in crime’ has been Sylvia Gilson BEM, helping charities and serving together on the Chulmleigh Old Fair committee up until and including the 750th anniversary event of 2003.

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