Time to pay tribute to Stephen and Reg.
PUBLISHED: 15:34 24 September 2012
They stand out in all weathers, always ready with a friendly smile and a thank-you whether people drop a few pence or a few pounds in their collection tins.
Now remarkable fundraising duo Reg Cotton and Stephen Turner have broken the £65,000 barrier in collecting cash for the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind.
Stephen, 42, who became blind after having a brain tumour removed in 1979, and Reg, 73, who has lost the sight in one eye as a result of glaucoma, are determined stalwarts at supermarkets and street corners across the city and county raising money for the NNAB.
But the charity needs more volunteers like Reg and Stephen to meet flag day and street collection commitments – a cornerstone of its fundraising work to provide services to 20,000 adults and children with poor sight in Norfolk.
NNAB fundraising organiser Donna Minto said: “A few more people like Stephen and Reg would make all the difference.
“We desperately need more volunteers to support us, even if it’s only for a couple of hours.”
Stephen said: “I think Reg and I make a good team. He knows my capabilities and I know he will look after me if I need it.
“When we heard we have raised £65,000 we were over the moon.
“It gets us out and meeting people and it’s helping the association,” he added.
“It’s making people aware of what it’s like to be blind and aware of what the NNAB does for so many people.”
Rain or shine, the pair go out on behalf of the NNAB at least once a week, but sometimes as many as three times a week, being dropped off at locations as far apart as Hunstanton and Great Yarmouth.
Reg has been fundraising for 15 years, with Stephen a relative novice with 12 years under his belt.
Is there any rivalry between them?
“There is a bit,” admitted Stephen.
“Reg is in front because he’s been doing it longer than me. But I’m catching him up.
“It’s a great feeling when someone puts £10 or £20 in your tin.
“It makes cold and wet days all worthwhile.”
Both Reg and Stephen live at Hammond Court, the NNAB’s supported living accommodation at its headquarters in Magpie Road, Norwich.
To volunteer as an NNAB collector anywhere in Norfolk, contact Donna Minto on Norwich (01603) 629558.