A COLCHESTER Guide Dogs volunteer has received a top award after dedicating six decades of loyal service to the charity.

Marjorie Culham, 77, of Dedham, first started fundraising for Guide Dogs at just 17 years old, raising money for the charity by collecting milk bottle tops.

Since then she has loyally given 60 years of her life to the non-profit organisation which has now earned her the Guide Dogs Long Service Award.

During that time she has spent more than 40 years as a speaker, delivering talks to local schools and other groups to help raise awareness about the life-changing work Guide Dogs does.

Marjorie has also raised 31 guide dog puppies since the Redbridge centre opened up 35 years ago which has helped shape the future of the dogs for the better.

British Empire Medal holder Marjorie attended the Guide Dogs’ annual People Awards to receive the honour, where she was also given a hand knitted jumper to commemorate the milestone.

Speaking about her years of volunteering, Marjorie said: “I love being a volunteer, you’re helping people and I think that’s the main thing.

"I love animals, I’ve had dogs all my life but guide dogs are special because they do a special job, and you help them along their journey.

“As a puppy-raiser you have the puppy and you put it on the bottom rung, starting it on its journey. It means the world to know that little bundle of fluff is a life changer.”

Gazette: Hero - Marjorie Culham, 77, and the knitted jumper she received for her 60 years of serviceHero - Marjorie Culham, 77, and the knitted jumper she received for her 60 years of service (Image: Guide Dogs)

“It’s giving people an insight into Guide Dogs, educating. It’s wonderful talking with children because sometimes they ask some quite strange questions.

"They’re interested and they’re tomorrow’s fundraisers. I love talking to people of all ages.”

Marjorie’s remarkable volunteer service has made a difference to countless lives and she continues to work in the community, inspiring volunteers and supporters alike to follow in her footsteps and make a difference.

Tina Boreham, community fundraising relationship manager for Guide Dogs, said: “We’re so grateful to Marjorie for everything she does for Guide Dogs and the smiles that she brings to countless faces as she does it.

"Through her love of volunteering, Marjorie has worked in her community to help raise awareness about the work we do and raise funds so that we’re able to help people live the life they choose.

"From fundraising to puppy raising, her volunteering has been a pivotal part of so many people’s journeys.”

If you’d like to find out more about becoming a Guide Dogs volunteer, visit guidedogs.org.uk