100-year-old marmalade maker raises £3,500 for Enfield cancer charity

Margaret from Winchmore Hill made more than 100 jars of marmalade and jam in a year despite having poor eyesight and arthritis, reports James Cracknell

Margaret with some of her 'finest orange marmalade'
Margaret with some of her ‘finest orange marmalade’

A Winchmore Hill marmalade maker has helped raise thousands of pounds for Nightingale Cancer Support Centre after producing more than 100 jars to celebrate her 100th birthday.

Margaret Stretton’s legendary marmalades and jams have long been a big hit with the congregation at St Thomas’s Church in Oakwood, and as she prepared to hit her century last year son-in-law David Mulford suggested she raise money for charity by setting herself a target.

The original aim was to make 50 jars and raise £200, but as the months went on it became clear Margaret would far surpass this.

“David suggested we do a Just Giving page and I said it sounds good but you will be lucky to get £200,” she told the Dispatch at Nightingale’s Baker Street base yesterday (Tuesday 25th). “Then we raised £3,500 which shows there are some good people out there!

“I didn’t even know these people [who were donating], there were donations coming in from America and Singapore.”

In total throughout last year Margaret managed to make 115 jars of marmalade and jam, in different flavours including strawberry, apricot and raspberry. This is despite her suffering from macular degeneration which severely impairs her eyesight, as well as rheumatoid arthritis in both hands.

The only help Margaret gets with her marmalade and jam production line is a little assistance scraping out her preserving pan the same pan she has been using for decades after inheriting it from her mother.

Daughter Christine Mulford said: “The thing we found incredible is that she has her poor eyesight now but she memorised the recipes. She has friends who ring her up to ask if she has any jars left!”

Margaret with a stand of her jam and marmalade at St Thomas's Church in Oakwood
Margaret with a stand of her jam and marmalade at St Thomas’s Church in Oakwood

Nightingale made a special presentation to Margaret on Tuesday to thank her for all her support, including a giant cheque showing her final fundraising total.

Asked why she had chosen to raise money for Nightingale, Margaret added: “I lost my mother [to cancer] when she was 69 so it was a natural thing I’m impressed with what they do.”

Donate to Margaret’s Just Giving page:

For more information about Nightingale Cancer Support Centre: