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Hove seashell collector, 95, featured on BBC4 series
4:00pm Friday 14th September 2012 in News
This amazing pensioner certainly has a rich collection of seashells.
Millicent Rich, 95, has been collecting seashells for more than 60 years.
She started collecting when she was an art teacher in the 1950s and used them to inspire children in deprived London schools by asking them to draw them.
Millicent made two British Pathe Pictorials about her hobby, which were shown in British cinemas alongsidemain features in the 1950s.
The films are now being shown as part of a BBC4 series looking at pastimes which have occupied the British public.
Millicent, from Hove, said: “Fifty-six years later I’m still wondering what to do when I grow up.”
She opened her own shop in Preston Road called Tropical Shells Company Ltd, which provided London schools with shells.
The shop opened on the same day Anita Roddick opened the Body Shop in the city and both women appeared in the same copy of The Argus.
She contacted suppliers across the world thanks to her husband Moss, who was trained in shipping.
Shells were imported from all over the world, including the Philippines and Zanzibar, in old tea chests and barrels, ranging from millions of tiny sea shells to giant clam shells which Millicent says are large enough to bathe a baby in.
Millicent said: “I can still say I sell seashells by the seashore.”
Despite her age, Millicent goes to the gym three times a week and gives after dinner speeches at various functions.
Her daughter, Shula Rich, said: “Millie will never retire. She’s ageless and absolutely beautiful. I’m very proud of her.
“She deserves all the praise she gets. I hope everyone who watches the film finds it an inspiration.”
The show’s producer Lesley Smith said: “Millie’s interview was absolutely wonderful. Her passion, warmth and immaculate taste came shining through.
“The programme would not have been half as good without Millie and I am very much in her debt.”
The film was shown on BBC4 on Tuesday night and is available to view on iPlayer.
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