A PERMANENT tribute is being unveiled this week to a Sheffield woman who devoted much of her life to improving animal welfare - reputed to be the city’s oldest fundraiser.
The late Gwen Berry will be remembered as a result of a plaque to be unveiled tomorrow (Friday) at the headquarters of the veterinary charity, PDSA, in Newhall Road, Attercliffe.
National fundraiser manager Brenda Smith said the charity wanted to recognise the “amazing dedication” of the retired nurse, who led local fundraising efforts for 21 years.
“She had a very strong relationship with the hospital in Sheffield and it seemed appropriate to have a plaque in the waiting room as a permanent reminder, to say thank you to Gwen and her fundraising group.”
Gwen, who died in 2009 at the age of 92, founded the group 20 years ago after her husband died and requested that no flowers should be sent for his funeral. Instead, donations were made to PDSA, which had provided free veterinary treatment for their own pets.
It was the start of a blitz, underpinned by Gwen’s commitment and unflagging energy, that generated thousands of pounds through events such as the annual garden party at her home in Dagnam Crescent, Manor Top, ladies’ pamper days, Christmas bazaars and jumble sales.
In June 2008, she was awarded an MBE, praised by the PDSA for her determination and devotion to helping sick and injured pets in Sheffield.
She said at the time: “It’s been the hardest thing ever keeping it quiet. The only person I’ve told is my cat, Mitsy!
“I can’t believe it is happening to me. I’m very humbled. I don’t think I have done anything to deserve it.”
The national honour followed plaudits from the charity itself – the Edward Bridges Webb Memorial Award in 2004 and the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2005.
PDSA director general Jan McLoughlin and the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Coun Alan Law, will attend tomorrow’s ceremony, joining Gwen’s daughter-in-law Sheila Berry and grandson Adam Berry.