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Longest-serving poppy seller, who killed herself after being hounded by charity cold-callers, to be honoured

BRITAIN’S longest-serving poppy seller Olive Cooke, who died after being hounded by charity cold-callers, is to be honoured.

Olive, 92, of Bristol, jumped to her death from Clifton Suspension Bridge in 2015.

Olive Cooke
Olive Cooke jumped off a bridge in 2015 after being hounded by charities after donations
:South West News Service

She spent several decades collecting donations for various charities and was well-known in Bristol, where she lived.

When her first husband died during the Second World War, Olive decided to dedicate her life raising money for those in need.

Her granddaughter Jessica Dunne said: “When Nan died, we felt we had the weight of the world on our shoulders.”

Olive Cooke
After losing her first husband after First World War, she decided to dedicate her life to raising money for those who are in need
South West News Service

“It was a really difficult time for us, and it wasn’t something we could do last year because it was still so raw.

“Her anniversary is coming up in May, so we thought it would be timely to do something for her.

“She touched the lives of so many with her tireless fundraising, her stories, humour and determination.

“We didn’t want to miss the opportunity to do something in her memory.”

She added: “The last two years have been really difficult, when we think about how she died.

She jumped off the Clifton Suspension Bridge two years ago
South West News Service
Olive Cooke
Now her family are trying to raise money to set up a memorial for Olive
South West News Service

“It’s haunting, but we want to remember who she was and what she did.”

A Fundraising Standards Board found that she was on the list of 99 charities and received 466 mail outs in one year.

According to an inquest, Olive suffered from depression and ill health for many years.

But in the wake of her death, a special charity was launched which prevents charities from pestering people for donations.

Olive Cooke
The rest of the money they raise will be going to three different charities
South West News Service

There is also a new gadget that will shield vunerable people from messages and numbers not pre-identified by family members.

Her family hope to raise £600 for a bench at the spot where she sold poppies, with leftover cash going to three charities