Shirley Bottolfsen

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Shirley Bottolfsen (born 12 February 1934)[1] is an Irish woman who lives in Bodø, Norway. For over twenty years she has raised money to help the poor.

Bottolfsen was born in Tipperary, the eldest of five children in a Catholic family, and immigrated to Bodø in 1956 with her first husband, a Norwegian sailor. He died at sea a few years later, leaving her with two young children. In 1983 she remarried to Per Bottolfsen, a dentist.[2]

Bottolfsen works with the Salvation Army and the municipality, but also as a one-person fundraising group.[3] Her primary fundraising method is to stand for hours in the Glasshuset (glass house) covered section of the pedestrian precinct in central Bodø with a collection bucket; she also runs a summer lottery.[2] As of 2005 she had raised 7 million kroner.[4] She has been a benefactor to a children's home in Lithuania.[2] She has raised several hundred thousand kroner for the poor and elderly in Porsanger; when honoured by the municipality in 2009, she donated the monetary award in the form of a 70-person coffee service and tablecloths.[5] She delivers food to needy people's homes in Bodø six days a week,[1][6] and gives Christmas gifts to the poor every year starting on 22 December.[4] In 2004 she donated security alarms to elderly people in Bodø and then protested the municipality's requiring service fees from those people.[7] In 2012 she raised money for some Roma families to return home to Romania, but felt misused when they returned to Oslo.[8]

For her volunteer and humanitarian work, she was awarded the King's Medal of Merit in silver in 2005.[4] The same year, the Norwegian TV company TV 2 made a documentary about her called Julenissen kommer fra Irland (Santa comes from Ireland).[4][9][10] In 2014, she received an international humanitarian prize from the Lions Club; the local Lions Club leader had sought the award for her for over twenty years.[3][11] She was also awarded the Progress Party's John Ingolf Alvheim Prize in 2014.[12] She features in the music video for the song "Mirage" by Heyerdahl.[13]

Bottolfsen has lived in the same house in Bodø since 1977. Her husband died in 2012; the following year, a group of volunteers repaired her house as a thankyou to her.[14] However, since she was having a rental flat created without building permission, the municipality ordered all work to stop.[15]


  1. ^ a b Håkon Jacobsen (12 February 2014). "Her danser Shirley i Glasshuset: I dag fyller Shirley Bottolfsen 80 år. 'Få har gjort mer for Bodø enn henne', sier ordføreren" (in Norwegian). NRK. 
  2. ^ a b c Roy-Arne Salater (19 November 2009) [18 November 2009]. "Engelen fra Bodø" (in Norwegian). TV 2. Archived from the original on 19 November 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Lise Forfang Hagen (30 March 2014). "Shirley Bottolfsen fikk internasjonal veldedighetspris" (in Norwegian). NRK. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Alene for de ensomme". Avisa Nordland (in Norwegian). 15 December 2005 [22 November 2005]. 
  5. ^ "Shirley Bottolfsen donerte kr 10 000 til Porsanger kommune" (in Norwegian). Porsanger kommune. 30 March 2009. 
  6. ^ Kari Skeie (4 May 2011). "Her kjører hun mat ut til fattige bodøværinger" (in Norwegian). NRK. 
  7. ^ Tore John Andreassen (9 December 2004) [8 December 2004]. "165 må betale for trygghet: Shirley Bottolfsen vil også i dag protestere mot egenandel på trygghetsalarmen". Avisa Nordland (in Norwegian). 
  8. ^ Susanne Lysvold (23 September 2012). "'Spinnvilt og ufint av Bottolfsen'" (in Norwegian). NRK. 
  9. ^ "Julenissen fra Irland". Avisa Nordland (in Norwegian). 28 December 2005 [27 December 2005]. 
  10. ^ "Slik hyller de Shirley". Bodø Nu (in Norwegian). 12 February 2014. 
  11. ^ "Shirley Bottolfsen fikk internasjonal veldedighetspris - Lions Club Bodø Bodin" (in Norwegian). Lions Norge. 1 April 2014. 
  12. ^ Erik Tørrissen (4 May 2014). "Shirley Bottolfsen fikk Alvheims ærespris" (in Norwegian). Progress Party. 
  13. ^ "Her debuterer Shirley i musikkvideo". Avisa Nordland (in Norwegian). 27 December 2012. 
  14. ^ Thor Harald Henriksen (28 August 2013). "I alle år har Shirley hjulpet andre - nå får hun hjelp". Verdens Gang (in Norwegian). 
  15. ^ Jan Eskil Severinsen and Aleksander Ramberg (9 September 2013). "Shirley: 'Jeg er veldig langt nede nå': Kommunen stanser alt arbeid hos Shirley Bottolfsen - da hun ikke hadde søkt om å få bygd utleieleilighet". Avisa Nordland (in Norwegian). 

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