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Poppy-seller had 'lost her faith in people', friend claims

Olive Cooke, the dedicated 92-year-old poppy-seller who was found dead at her home in Avon Gorge had "lost her faith in people", a friend has said.

Michael Earley referred to an incident two months ago, when £250 she sent to a relative went missing in the post. Ms Cooke, a postwoman for 17 years, told him she "couldn't get it out of her system".

From Olive Cooke's photo album: Olive and her first husband Leslie, who was killed in the Second World War Credit: Olive Cooke

I said to her 'you have to forget about that £250', but she couldn't get it out of her system. She spent hours and hours talking about it on the phone.

With all the charities on top it just broke the camel's back.

It was the loss of faith. She always had a lot of faith in people and expected people to be the same.

– Michael Earley

Poppy-seller had been 'overwhelmed by charity pleas'

One of Britain's longest-serving poppy sellers who was found dead in a gorge at the age of 92 had "just had enough" of pleas from charities for donations, her son said.

Olive Cooke, 92, was found dead by police at Avon Gorge in Bristol Credit: SWNS

Olive Cooke's body was found by police at Avon Gorge in Bristol last week, just two days before the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

Mrs Cooke had dedicated 76 years of her life to raising money for the Royal British Legion and is believed to have sold around 30,000 poppies.

She donated to many charities but spoke last year of how "overwhelming" the volume of post and phonecalls from different organisations requesting money had become.

Her son Del Whelan said his mother suffered health problems, the Guardian reported, and said the "constant drip of the begging letters" had not helped.

He said: "I think she found it difficult to say no. She had just had enough."

She was also said to have been troubled by the loss of £250 in cash which went missing in the post, causing her to lose faith in people, her friend Michael Earley said.

An inquest into Mrs Cooke's death is expected to be opened at Avon Coroner's Court next week.


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Becky Watts' belongings found as inquiry to last 'weeks'

A laptop, tablet and mobile phone all belonging to tragic schoolgirl Becky Watts have been recovered by investigating officers, police have confimed.

Det Supt Liz Tunks, who is leading the inquiry, said detailed forensic examinations were likely to take "several weeks" as officers try to establish exactly what happened to the 16-year-old, who was found dead more than a week after she disappeared.

Becky Watts' remains were discovered at a house in Bristol more than a week after she went missing

Six people have been charged over the case.

Becky's step-brother Nathan Matthews, 28, is accused of her murder, while his girlfriend Shauna Hoare, 21, has been charged with perverting the course of justice.

Four others - Karl Demetrius and Donovan Demetrius, both 29, Jaydene Parsons, 23, and James Ireland, also 23 - have been charged with helping to dispose of and hide the body parts of the 16-year-old.

We’d like to reassure the local community that our primary aim is to conduct a meticulous and exhaustive inquiry into Becky’s death.

Even though there have been charges brought in this case, it continues to be an active investigation.

– Det Supt Liz Tunks, Bristol Police
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