Tireless Dagenham fundraiser dies aged 87
PUBLISHED: 10:00 23 November 2016
A great-grandmother who spent decades raising money for charity has died aged 87.
Winnie Chapman was well known for dressing up as a witch and bucket shaking at Heathway mall to fundraise for the mayor’s charity.
She passed away in hospital on Saturday morning after suffering from a weak heart valve for several months following an operation in September.
Winnie, of Reede Road, Dagenham, threw herself into fundraising after losing two of her three daughters, Lisa and Yvonne Fenn, to cancer.
“Mum had always been a helpful person but it made her give it her all,” her son, Danny Fenn, recalled.
“She could go in any shop in Dagenham, Barking or Romford and people would give her things which she would then auction off.”
Winnie also volunteered at the Osbourne Partnership in Dagenham, which provides support for people with special needs, for several years and when she was no longer able to help out she would visit to chat.
She suffered with curvature of the spine and osteoporosis for much of her life but nothing could prevent her fundraising.
She would always dress up to take part in the Halloween collections at Heathway mall and being confined to a wheelchair didn’t stop her getting involved this year.
“She always bounced back every time she was ill and she was very headstrong,” Danny, 49, explained.
“Sometimes I used to hide the keys so she couldn’t leave the house as I was worried about her – but she’d always get herself out.”
Winnie – who had six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren – cheated death twice. Her house took a direct hit during the Blitz and she narrowly avoided getting on a train which crashed in 1967.
Danny fondly remembers his seamstress mum working on a Singer sewing machine in the front room during his childhood.
She separated from her first husband and married army veteran Charlie Chapman who she met at the Royal British Legion.
“My mum was so supportive – no matter what I’d done, I was her little golden boy,” Danny added. “I could never repay all she did for me.
“It’s been very moving for me as so many people have paid their respects to her.”
Winnie’s funeral will take place at South Essex Crematorium in Upminster on Monday at 11.20am and will be followed by a wake at Dagenham and Redbridge football club. All who knew her are welcome.
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