They have organised numerous sea toe-dips, solar strolls, table-top sales, raffles, bike rides, coffee mornings and moonlight walks over the years.

And after raising tens of thousands of pounds for worthy causes, two of the Waveney area's hardest working fundraisers are set to take a welcome step back.

The remarkable voluntary efforts of Zoiyar Cole and Janet Ellis have seen more than £320,000 raised for cancer charities and deserving local people.

From an inaugural coffee morning that Mrs Cole organised to raise funds for Macmillan Nurses, to a Christmas coffee morning held in July this year, the Pakefield pair have united to help others.

It comes after the Paul Cole Cancer Fund was set up in memory of Zoiyar's son, who died from cancer in 1999, aged just 35. Mrs Cole, 75, started fundraising in 2000, and after meeting Mrs Ellis, 74, in early 2001 it 'all carried on from there.'

Recalling the first event that was held, Mrs Cole said: 'I just wanted to raise some money to give back to Macmillan, for all the support they had given Paul. We raised £680, and so I wanted to round it up to £1, never stopped from there.'

This led to numerous wacky events and fundraising ventures being held over the years. They also opened Jazos charity shop in London Road South, which later passed to East Anglia Children's Hospices (EACH). Mrs Cole has written a collection of books of poetry, with many of her poems being published, and also crocheted flowers, which have been subsequently sold.

With monies donated to the Sandra Chapman Ward at the James Paget University Hospital, the Louise Hamilton Centre at the hospital, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Macmillan Nurses, EACH and local individuals over the years, the selfless duo have raised £320,961. They aim to have raised £330,000 by the end of the year and then take a deserved rest.

Mrs Ellis said: 'Its sad to say we have decided to call it day.'

Mrs Cole added: 'I would not have raised this much money if I had not met Janet. We are grateful to all who have sponsored us and helped us over the years, specifically all the businesses who have backed us with all the events. Friends, family, business people and many more people around the Lowestoft and Gorleston area – everyone has rallied round.

Describing their friendship, Mrs Cole said: 'Janet has been like a sister to me.'

Mrs Ellis added: 'I do think a lot of Zoiyar. To have raised this amount of money, it is like a lovely dream.'