Kathleen Sim still works in Bits & Pieces charity shop in Dingwall twice a week after opening it herself 36 years ago.
The 87-year-old worked as a nurse in Inverness and thought it was “ridiculous” there wasn’t a hospice in the area for people who were terminally ill.
When someone proposed setting up Highland Hospice, she committed to supporting the charity in “any way at all”.
Mrs Sim has now been awarded a BEM for her services to the charity, for which it is estimated she has raised around £1million over the years.
Because she doesn’t fundraise with the aim of being rewarded, she said was shocked to receive the honour.
“I couldn’t believe it, the letter arrived and I thought ‘who is sending me a letter from Downing Street?'”, she said.
“I opened it up and said ‘you’re joking!'”
She shared the news immediately with her two cats, certain they would keep her secret.
‘It’s lovely to know I’ve raised money for them’
Many of the volunteers at Bits & Pieces live alone or are widowed, so the shop helps to reduce isolation in the Highland village.
Mrs Sim’s husband died 19 years ago, but working in the shop helps keep her connected to the community.
She said: “I’ve got lots of friends and the support of the public is unbelievable.”
She added that one customer in particular checks in on her often and helped her when she was recently unwell.
Explaining why she continues to raise money for Highland Hospice, Mrs Sim said: “Everyone will use the hospice at some point, even if it’s just someone they know is there, it’s lovely to know that I’ve helped raise money for them.”