South Shields charity volunteer celebrates 80th birthday as she continues to help others

The Charlie Cookson Foundation market stall volunteer Dorothy Morrison is celebrating turning 80.
The Charlie Cookson Foundation market stall volunteer Dorothy Morrison is celebrating turning 80.

For birthday girl Dorothy Morrison, age is no barrier to setting out her stall.

The retired machinist has just turned 80 – but gets up with the larks each Friday to help man the Charlie Cookson Foundation’s stand at South Shields Market Place.

Birthday girl Dorothy Morrison, left, with Charlie Cookson's grandmother Diane Howe.

Birthday girl Dorothy Morrison, left, with Charlie Cookson's grandmother Diane Howe.

The mum-of-two has been on duty, rain or shine, once a week for the past six months, playing her part in raising vital funds.

And she has supported the charity - named after the two-year-old South Tyneside youngster who died in 2013 - even longer.

Dorothy, of St Mary’s Court, South Shields, has worked across its two fundraising shops, in Jarrow and South Shields, for three years.

During her six-hour stall stint, she helps Charlie’s nana, Diane Howe, 71, and fellow volunteers Josie Barr, 70, and Linda Claire, 61.

I love working at the market place and I have no intention of stopping – I plan to be here for a lot longer

Dorothy Morrison

Together they raise thousands of pounds to support the parents of seriously ill children with life limiting conditions who require round-the-clock nursing care or specialist nursing facilities.

Dorothy, who has been married to John, 82, for 56 years, said: “I love working at the market place and I have no intention of stopping – I plan to be here for a lot longer.

“I like meeting people and being part of this great team has brought me out of my shell. It’s nice to celebrate my birthday with them.

“I’ve known Diane for a lot of years and I knew Charlie, too, and I remember his giggle.

From left to right, stall volunteers Diane Howe, Dorothy, Josie Barr and Linda Claire.

From left to right, stall volunteers Diane Howe, Dorothy, Josie Barr and Linda Claire.

“It’s nice to be able to do something that raises money for such a good cause.”

To mark the special occasion, the foundation’s team treated Dorothy to flowers and tea, and plan to take her for a curry.

Grandmother Diane, a former Greggs bakery assistant manager, also of St Mary’s Court, said: “Her birthday celebration has been going on and on.

“But it’s been wonderful to help Dorothy mark such a special day. It’s lovely to have her on the stall with us.

Dorothy Morrison, right, with Charlie Cookson's grandmother Diane Howe.

Dorothy Morrison, right, with Charlie Cookson's grandmother Diane Howe.

“Every penny we make here goes to support the work of the foundation, so it is good that Dorothy and others like to help.”

The foundation is named after South Tyneside youngster Charlie, who died in October 2013.

For the first nine weeks of his life, he was cared for within a special care baby unit.

Over the next two years, he underwent regular hospital treatment for muscle and bone problems.

His bravery was recognised in April 2013 when he was given the South Tyneside Child of Courage Award.

Sadly, he also suffered from breathing difficulties, life-threatening infections and epileptic seizures, which led to a deterioration in his health that could not be reversed.

The foundation has donated over £170,000 to support families but requires around £3,000 a month to lift the financial burden on a family needing its support.

Further details of its work are available at www.charliecookson.org.uk