IT’S ALL IN THE CARDS
An official Unsung Hero has a special message for the kind and generous readers of Let’s Talk ... thank you. Derek James chats to Michael “the postcard man” Porter.
Michael Porter ‘the postcard man’ is a true unsung hero
It is such a simple way of helping others – handing over your picture postcards – and it has now raised the grand total of exactly £113,447.36, which goes to support the wonderful work of the Norfolk Deaf Children’s Society.
In more recent times it has been the readers of Let’s Talk who have jumped at the chance of helping deaf children by donating their cards to Michael and Sylvia Porter of Worlingham, near Beccles.
“I just want to thank them for their support. They are really helpful. People are so good,” said the man who, with his wife Sylvia, starting collecting and selling cards more than 35 years ago.
Last year dear Sylvia died, but Michael has pledged to carry on fundraising and at the end of 2016 was named an Unsung Hero of the Year at the Stars of Lowestoft and Waveney Awards organised by our sister newspapers, the Eastern Daily Press and Lowestoft Journal.
“I was overwhelmed. It means so much to me and is a big tribute to Sylvia’s memory,” said Michael.
They were an extraordinary double act who devoted their lives to helping others all over Norfolk and Suffolk in a range of different ways, but they were both well known for their postcard collecting.
I first wrote about the Porters many years ago and asked for readers of the Eastern Evening News in Norwich to send in their cards. They have been arriving ever since and now readers of Let’s Talk have climbed aboard and have been handing over their picture postcards.
“I get calls from all over Norfolk and Suffolk from people who have read about us in Let’s Talk. I love to go to collect the cards if I can and meet the people. They are wonderful,” said Michael.
Michael and Sylvia (she died last March) met on a trip to Butlins when they were working at William Clowes, the Beccles printing company. They fell in love and saved £2,600 to buy a bungalow at Worlingham in the 1960s where they spent all their married life.
Their interest in collecting cards came about when Sylvia’s father, Edgar Suckling of Beccles, died
and left her his collection. They produced two books featuring cards highlighting Beccles and Bungay, which sold out, and they gave all the money they made to local charities.
The couple supported many different charities before concentrating on their efforts on helping the work of the Norfolk Deaf Children’s Society; first to buy phonic ears and now the money is used to buy a range of equipment for the society.
And they also became postcard experts with customers all over this country and across the world. “Think of a subject and the chances are we knew someone who wanted it,” said Michael. From aircraft to windmills.
“Following Sylvia’s death I have decided to carry on collecting and selling cards for as long as I can,” said Michael, who is now 79. “She would have wanted me to continue so I am - I hope people will keep sending the cards in,” he added.
And Michael is a man who sends every penny he makes to the society. Many different people help him by donating cards and the total raised by selling the cards readers of Let’s Talk and the Evening News have sent in now stands at £ 25,729.28p.
“Every penny counts,” says Michael.
So, if you have any cards you would like to donate, you can send them to me - that’s Derek James at Let’s Talk, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE, or call Michael on 01502 714352 and he may be able to collect them. And once again ... thank you.
The gentle, sometimes saucy humour of the postcards makes them fun to collect Michael Porter and his late wife Sylvia raised more than £113,000 for the Norfolk Deaf Children’s Society.
Michael Porter has been collecting postcards for charity for many years.
Michael and Sylvia Porter on their wedding day.