Share Wendy's joy at 7,500-badge collection

From the Muppets to Spiderman, from puffins to the Clangers, Wendy Knipe has every kind of charity pin badge you can imagine.

Thursday, 21st February 2019, 9:30 am
Updated Thursday, 21st February 2019, 10:52 am
Thunderbird badges are part of Wendy Knipe's collection

The 38-year-old carer has been collecting charity badges since she was 13 – her first buy was a set of Dennis the Menace enamel pins from Debenhams – and now she has more than 7,500.

She keeps them in alphabetical order in box files, keeps data on her collection on a computer spread sheet and a photographic record on a USB stick.

See more of Wendy's wonderful collection here

Among the charities represented are Age Concern, McMillan Nurses, RNLI, RSPCA, British Heart Foundation, British Red Cross, Kidney Research, Unicef, Royal British Legion, Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Trust, Children in Need and Tommy’s.

One close to her heart is Circle of Hope – a range of charities which help people with brain injuries. She helps out on a fundraising stall in Filey.

Six years ago Wendy had a brain tumour removed and now has an acrylic plate in her head.

Her memory and ability to multi-task were affected by the operation. That and other factors meant she was unable to return to her job as store manager in Filey.

“I am here and glad to be putting something back,” said Wendy, who is a full-time carer for her 27-year-old autistic brother Sam.

Wendy lives with Sam and their mum and dad Jenny, a retired receptionist at Springhead School in Scarborough, and Dave, who was a bus driver, in Filey.

The boxes of badges cover the surface of the tops of four wardrobes.

She has Violent Veg, Thunderbirds, the Muppets, Pudsey, Peppa Pig, Magic Roundabout characters, Beano characters, Danger Mouse, Rupert Bear, football shirts, insects, wild animals, sea creatures, and BIBIC (British Institute for Brain Injured Children) character pins.

“I love collecting charity badges. They are so full of character and colourful – and I am also helping the charity they represent,” she said.

There is also stunning artwork and design on display – not to mention nostalgia value.

The latest addition to her collection is a pin badge created to mark the 50th anniversary of RSPB Bempton Cliffs.

The special badge, featuring a puffin, has been in demand since its launch at the beginning of the month, with collectors across the country inundating the RSPB team with requests for it.

Scott Davison-Smith, visitor operations manager, said: “We knew the new badge would be popular but we’ve been surprised at the level of interest. In the short term we’ve had to limit purchases to one per person so as not to disappoint visitors who’ll be making a trip here later in the year.”

Wendy has been collecting RSPB badges since 2006. Her first RSPB badge was a blackbird bought from the Bempton Cliffs reserve.

She now has 1,500 RSPB badges featuring all kinds of wildlife.Like all collectors, she is particular about what she collects and the condition of the pieces. The RSPB pins have to be on the right descriptive card. ‘Marriages’ – that’s a badge on the wrong card – are anathema.

Among her favourites is a collection for Cancer Research featuring a character. “That’s why I am so into collecting. They are so quirky,” said Wendy. Then, there is the Black Grouse RSPB badge issued by the makers of Famous Grouse whisky.

“One hundred were put online at a cost of £5 each at 6.15am one Friday and they were gone in eight minutes,” said Wendy.

Wendy buys from charity shops, job lots and on-line. The badge-collecting community help each other out. Her family support her collecting with on one occasion mum buying 27 charity badges at £1 each from a seller in Morrisons.

There is no let-up in her enthusiasm – and if anyone spots a RSPB badge she has not got then let her know. Be aware, she knows to the last one which ones she has and what card it is meant to be fixed to.