Bexleyheath fundraising couple receive top award after raising more than £500,000

PUBLISHED: 17:01 01 July 2016

RNLI fundraisers John and Barbara Thake with Christine Barton from The Broadway. Picture by:

RNLI fundraisers John and Barbara Thake with Christine Barton from The Broadway. Picture by:

Barbara and John Thake have been given the RNLI gold badge

A charitable couple from Bexleyheath have scooped a top fundraising award after raising thousands of pounds for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Barbara and John Thake have managed to raise more than £500,000 for the charity in the last 30 years.

The couple, from Hurlingham Road, have been chosen to receive the prestigious RNLI gold badge in recognition of decades of fundraising.

Both have received previous honours for their voluntary services, Mr Thake, 73 has been given Freedom of the City of London.

He said: “We’ve been married since 1964 and part of the reason we fundraise together is because we like each other’s company.

“We’ve always stuck together and we like doing things together.

“The RNLI is a charity close to my heart. The power of the sea is enormous and people just don’t realise it when they go down to the beach for a day’s fun. There’s a lot of danger and I’ve witnessed that first-hand.

“Our success in fundraising isn’t all down to us. We have many supporters who all pitch in and we couldn’t do it without them. In recognising us, the RNLI recognises our whole group.”

Mrs Thake, 71, a former administrative assistant for the NHS, she said: “We once had a lady invite us to her house after meeting us where she donated £1,000 to the RNLI.

“She’d been waiting to find a suitable charity and decided that the RNLI was an organisation she wanted to support. We also recently received a £95 donation from the residents in a local care home.

“We’re very lucky as local people get used to seeing us. The people of Bexleyheath and Broadway shoppers are very generous and people like to stop and chat.

“Lots of people say they only support one or two charities and the RNLI is often one of them. The Broadway Shopping Centre is great for us as it’s under cover and the security teams and staff are always very helpful. The customers are also very friendly.”

The couple have been invited to a formal presentation ceremony in Surrey in August to receive their gold badge.

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