Legendary Black Country fundraiser passes away in the hospital she loved

A legendary charity fundraiser who spent more than 50 years collecting cash for good causes has passed away in the hospital she loved.

10/5/07 DUDLEY.
Gwen Timmins from Kingswinford with her MBE.
COPYRIGHT EXPRESS & STAR PICTURE JEFF MILLWARD 10/5/07 DUDLEY. Gwen Timmins from Kingswinford with her MBE.

Gwen Timmins was a familiar face across the Black Country as she cajoled, convinced and cheekily asked anyone and everyone to donate money to whichever hospital or charity she was raising money for.

The 78-year-old died of cancer in the hospital she raised more than £100,000 in ten years, Russells Halls Hospital, and had a queue of grateful consultants and doctors saying their goodbyes on her deathbed.

Diane Wake, chief executive, Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, paid tribute to the tireless fundraiser.

She said: "We are saddened to hear of the death of Gwen Timmins, whose fabulous fundraising efforts over the years have greatly benefited patients being treated at Russells Hall Hospital.

"She will be fondly remembered by many of our staff and we send our sincere condolences to her family and friends."

Born and raised in Pensnett Gwen eventually moved to Kingswinford where she masterminded her fundraising activities with a little help from her family.

Daughter Julie said: "My first memory is of being out with mum fundraising for Wordesley Hospital, it was a real family affair and we had so much fun doing it over the years. As a family we will certainly carry on fundraising in some way or another.

"She enjoyed getting out there and meeting people and raising money for hospitals and for good causes."

The grandmother of eight used to come up with wacky ways to raise cash from pushing beds around the Merry Hill Centre to enlisting all types of entertainers to star at her popular gala nights.

Jumble sales, Christmas fairs, raffles, sponsored walks, runs and jumps Gwen did them all to generate money which helped pay for equipment and even holidays for seriously ill children.

Julie said: "She was never happier than being out there raising money and of course when she got her MBE she was absolutely chuffed to bits."

Gwen went to Buckingham Palace in 2013 to receive her gong and happily told Prince Charles all about her good deeds in the Black Country, she described the heir to the throne as "Prince Charming".

She told the Express and Star at the time: "We had a wonderful morning. There were quite a lot of posh top hats on display and I was in my gladrags feeling very proud.

"It's a nice feeling to have some initials at the end of your name and it's a bit of recognition for all the hard work and long hours."

As well as raising money for Russells Hall Hospital Gwen generated income for Corbett and Wordsley hospitals as well as for Birmingham Children's Hospital, where one of her grandchildren was successfully treated for cancer.

Julie said: "There will not be another like her that's for sure, we always used to say you could not walk down the road with her without her bumping into somebody she knew. I know she will be missed. We have had a lot of messages from people offering condolences."

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