When most people retire they look forward to lazy days relaxing or pursuing their favourite hobbies. Having spent their working days grafting, most people tend to slow down and enjoy life at a quieter pace.
But that’s certainly not the case for Kath and Rex Titley from Dorrington, near Shropshire, who since retiring have worked tirelessly for the Charity since it began in 1991.
When Kath, 76, retired in 1988 from her job with British Telecom, her husband Rex was already retired from his job as a manager of a sand and gravel pit. Together they have fundraised for Midlands Air Ambulance Charity for twenty years and it seems nothing, not even poor health will stop them.
The couple have raised so much money over the last two decades they have lost count, but believe they raise on average £2000 each year which makes a staggering £40,000 through fundraising over the years. Their incredible efforts continue even today while Kath is recovering from a broken hip.
Kath broke her hip in June of this year after falling down outside shops on a visit to town and now needs the aid of a Zimmer frame, but she hopes to soon be stable enough to move around only with the aid of her walking stick.
Kath said: “I was in hospital for ten days, I was the youngest on the ward and sadly the only one with a husband there, they all loved Rex when he came to visit but I sent him out fundraising! It hasn’t stopped me just slowed me down, I’m still collecting”
Kath even suffered from Cancer in 1995, but a short while after having internal and external radiotherapy, she was back to her fundraising ways!
Fiercely passionate yet so very modest about the work she has achieved, Kath simply says; “You don’t know how many years you’ve got left to run around and I hope I’ve a few more yet, until then lm not stopping.”
Despite her own fantastic efforts, veteran volunteer Kath told Takeoff that’s it’s thanks to her husband Rex that they are able to do so much for the charity; “My husband has drove hundreds of miles for events and fundraising for Midlands Air Ambulance. He has been my chauffer since we married and has never complained once, well not out loud to me!”
Rex, who is 80 this year, is actively involved with the couples fundraising events. Kath explains; “When we do car boot sales he will pack the car up then unload all the boxes and he sets up the tables for me too.”
Between them the couple have organised 16 annual jumble sales, countless coffee mornings, car boot sales and church concerts; “The most I think we have raised at one event is £800 in a village hall jumble sale.” says Kath.
Not even standing in a freezing field can put them off. Kath says; “We have plenty of room in the car to do sales and people are more than generous when they know it’s for such a good cause, but you still get the odd cheeky one trying to barter as a joke!”
While it’s tiring just listening to all the activities the couple are involved in, the fundraising is now only one part of their retirement as they have met so many people along the way they now have a social diary bursting at the seams.
“Fundraising has given us an active social life in our retirement years, we go out for meals, go to dances and to other charity events. We have made a lot of friends through Midlands Air Ambulance and I like any excuse to wear a long gown and get dressed up.” laughs Kath.
Asked if she has a favourite memory of her times fundraising, Kath told Takeoff: “We met The Princess Royal at RAF Cosford in May 2001 when she unveiled the new 135 Europcopter Air Ambulance. I spoke to her about our fundraising events and she seemed quite intrigued about jumble sales!”