Lacy Scott & Knight are pleased to offer for auction the MBE awarded to tireless fundraiser Snowy Farr. It will be lot 385 in our 9th December Coins, Medals & Militaria auction.
Walter "Snowy" Farr was born in Longstanton in 1919. He worked for Cambridgeshire City Council as a road sweeper for most of his life, but it was his unconventional fundraising activities after retiring which brought him to the publics, and ultimately The Queens, attention.
Snowy decided to spend his retirement raising much-needed funds for several charities for the blind. And he did it in style. Busking and collecting around Petty Cury in Cambridge city centre, Snowy was often seen in antique military uniform or suit tails, along with a striped top hat. He was regularly accompanied by a menagerie of animals to include his cat, several white mice, dogs, guinea pigs, cockerels, and a goat. The cat would sit upon Snowy's top hat while the mice ran around its brim. Snowy sometimes also bought customised ice cream vans or tall bicycles with him as part of his act.
Snowy's home in Oakington was no less conspicuous than its owner. The house was adorned with flags, dolls, teddy-bears and a running total board of the donations collected so far. He was a vegetarian and kept an allotment which saw to all of his food needs.
Unsurprisingly, Snowy managed to raise many thousands of pounds over the years. He reportedly raised over £62,000 for the Cambridgeshire Society for the Blind and Partially Sighted, over £46,000 for Guide Dogs for the Blind (which bought approx. 22 guide dogs), and over £25,000 for CamSight. He also helped many more blind charities locally and nationally.
Despite being extremely well-known by visitors to Cambridge and interviewed by Dave Allen back in 1974, Snowy's efforts weren't officially recognised until1995 when he received this MBE.
Snowy Farr died on 8th March 2007, aged 88. Weyman's Funeral Services of Cambridge funded the funeral as Snowy had given all of his money to charity. Shortly afterwards there was a public call for a fitting memorial to this lovable eccentric who had done so much for charity while keeping the people of Cambridge entertained. The Snowy Farr memorial artwork was unveiled outside Cambridge's Guildhall in 2012. Designed by Gary Webb, the sculpture is suitably eye-catching.
In memory of Snowy's tireless work, Lacy Scott & Knight will donate all commission fees and buyers premium from the sale of this lot to Guide Dogs for the Blind.