Celebrating 15 years at hub of the community

Volunteer Hetty Ardley with assistant manager Keith Langley and volunteers June Evans, Angie Welling and Mary McManus
Volunteer Hetty Ardley with assistant manager Keith Langley and volunteers June Evans, Angie Welling and Mary McManus

A Highfield charity shop marked its 15th year of trading last Thursday, and its longest serving volunteer joined in the celebrations.

Nearly 30 shop volunteers, many of them long serving, marked the milestone birthday with a special thank you celebration at the popular of the Hospice of St Francis’ Bellgate Parade shop.

Mum of four and grandma of six Hetty Ardley, aged 83, who has been a volunteer at the shop since it opened in 2000, was among those celebrating.

Said Hetty, from Highfield, said: “I’d just retired when my sister, who was visiting from Kent and had just popped out to buy a newspaper, arrived home to tell me she’d put my name down to volunteer at this new charity shop, which had just opened down the road, and 15 years later, I haven’t looked back.

“I love volunteering here and always look forward to my Tuesday and Friday mornings, operating the till, steaming clothes, sorting books, labelling or doing anything else that needs doing.

“It’s like one big happy family, working with such a lovely bunch of people and seeing regular customers as well as new ones discovering the shop for the first time.”

Store manager Marilyn Cooke-Willing said: “We are so grateful to all our customers and volunteers who make the shop the wonderful community hub and success that it is.

“Hetty is one of two volunteers who have received their 15-year service badges recently and, like all our volunteers, she’s a real asset to the shop, 100 per cent reliable and she always has a smile on her face.”

F more about the hospice’s shops at www.stfrancis.org.uk/shop-with-us