A GRANDMOTHER from the Meon Valley is planning to put her 1,000+ bookmark collection on show to raise money for a charity that has helped her granddaughter.

Jill Therkelsen, from Bishop's Waltham, started her bookmark collection over 40 years ago and it’s been unintentionally growing ever since.

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Jill said: "I never meant to start collecting them! When my three children went on school trips, they would buy me bookmarks with their pocket money.

"Then the rest of my friends and family started doing the same when they travelled and now I’ve had bookmarks bought for me from everywhere. My family definitely support me and I think they find it very amusing."

Jill’s collection even includes bookmarks from North Korea and Thailand, with one of the oddest being made from dried elephant dung. One of her most sentimental bookmarks was cross stitched by her 102-year-old mother in law.

When Jill reached 1,000 bookmarks, she decided to hold an exhibition for her quirky collection in order to raise money for a charity close to her heart.

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She said: "I want people to enjoy my odd collection.

"At the moment they’re all together in a big box and I don’t have them on display at home.

"Making a donation isn't a requirement, although happily welcomed."

She is raising money for The Rainbow Trust, a charity that supports families who have a child aged 0-18 years with a life-threatening or terminal illness.

She said: "My four-year-old granddaughter, Elenor, has a very rare genetic disorder where there are only 300 cases worldwide. It is not, as far as we know, life limiting but she has significant and complex needs. The trauma for families with disabled children is immense, so it is with this in mind that we would like to support this charity."

The exhibition is being held at the Kings Church Hall in Bishop's Waltham on May 28, from 11am until 3pm. Hot drinks, homemade cakes and biscuits will be on sale during the viewing and everything raised is going towards the charity.

Jill said: "Apart from the fact that we'd like to raise funds, we also wanted to make it an event of interest for the village.

"It truly is a wonderful and amazing collection of bookmarks from friends, family, strangers, and friends of friends and so on from wide and far throughout the world and many of them have stories to tell."

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