National charity’s tribute to fundraiser Olive on her 100th birthday

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One of Leighton Buzzard’s oldest residents has just celebrated her 100th birthday with her family.

Centenarian Olive Pither of St George’s Court will be familiar with many LBO readers for her fundraising achievements over the years.

Olive pictured in 2011 with some of her creations

Olive pictured in 2011 with some of her creations

Olive, who reached her landmark birthday on June 29 and received the obligatory card from The Queen, has raised more than £5,000 for Prostate Cancer UK by knitting cuddly bears and dolls.

She began making the toys in 2004 when she had to take a bear along to a picnic.

She suddenly realised she did not have one so knitted one quickly. Her bear was a hit and others wanted a woolly friend of their own so Olive picked up her knitting needles and went on to create more than 400 teddies and dolls. She has since hung up her needles.

The charity is close to her heart as her husband Reginald died of the prostate cancer in 2003.

Before they married, Olive played the Piano Accordion in the Lawrence Inns Band, and used to play at the old Corn Exchange in Lake Street.

Older Leightonians may remember Olive and Reginald running the greengrocers shop in Waterdell, Leighton, between 1960 and 1974, before they emigrated to Canada.

The couple returned in 1994 and celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary in 1999.

Prostate Cancer UK posted a tribute to Olive on its Facebook page to mark her 100th birthday.

They said: “Happy 100th Birthday Olive Pither! Olive has raised over £5,000 to help beat prostate cancer with her amazing teddy bear knitting skills.

“Olive has been knitting teddies for donations in memory of her late husband Reg since she was a sprightly 87, and although she’s hung up her knitting needles these days, Olive still supports us in any way that she can.

“On this very special birthday, the only gift Olive has asked for is that her friends, family and well-wishers join her in supporting a cause that has been close to her heart for many years.”

You can make a donation via www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Grandma-Olive – a page that was set up by one of her great grandsons.

In all Olive has five children, 11 grandchildren, 16 great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren.