Two charity shop volunteers celebrate 15 years at Hyde shopping centre
Thursday 23rd November 2017 @ 10:27 by Adam Higgins
Business Hyde News

The team at the British Heart Foundation shop at Hyde’s Clarendon Square Shopping Centre is celebrating its two longest serving volunteers, who have been with the store for an impressive 15 years.

An in-store celebration has been held to thank Ann Robinson and Marjorie Luke for their fantastic efforts in supporting the charity.

Since 2002, the local ladies have clocked up thousands of hours at the Clarendon Square-based charity shop serving customers, fundraising and helping raise awareness about heart disease.

Paula Wood, centre manager at Clarendon Square, was full of praise for the hardworking duo.

She said: “Fifteen years’ service is a wonderful achievement and we are all so impressed by their unwavering dedication. Ann and Marjorie are a credit to the British Heart Foundation and it’s really inspiring seeing them out and about speaking with our visitors and educating the town on how we can all do our bit to help.”

Ann, 86, and Marjorie, 88, had previously worked together at Hyde’s now closed Oxfam store, and with heart disease touching both of their lives, they explained that joining the British Heart Foundation team was the natural next step.

Ann – who works 11 hours across three days – said: “My husband suffered from angina and had seven bypasses before he passed away, and Marjorie lost both parents to heart problems and her brother was taken suddenly by a heart attack,” she added. “When we saw that extra help was needed at the British Heart Foundation, we took it and it’s the best choice we could have made.”

Over the last decade and a half, Marjorie – who spends five hours a week volunteering – said they have embraced the mixture of great highs and challenges. She said: “We loved watching the team at Clarendon Square going from strength to strength and meeting the many wonderful people of Hyde.

Seeing how the charity has developed into the world class organisation it is today has been a privilege too.

“Like with any role there have been difficult times, such as when the shop faced closure 10 years ago, but here we are still going strong,” Marjorie said.

Emma Thatcher, manager at the British Heart Foundation Hyde Shop, expressed her appreciation for the services and input Ann and Marjorie have provided to date. She said: “Myself and the whole team couldn’t be any prouder of these two lovely ladies who we all aspire to be like. Nothing is too much trouble for them and they both hold a very special place in all our hearts.

“We’re so grateful for all their hard work and wanted to take this time to say a huge thank you for all they have done,” she added.

When asked about their favourite aspect of volunteering, Ann said: “We enjoy all of the fundraising because the cause is so special, but it’s also a real pleasure selling raffle tickets for seasonal appeals as we enjoy giving back to the customers that support us so much through the year.

She added that being at the store felt like being part of a big family: “Some of us have faced some difficult times over the years, with losses and sad events but I can’t think of a more loving, supportive bunch of people than those that work at the British Heart Foundation.

“I’ve loved every minute spent in the shop and I feel I have got a lot more out of it than I have put in,” added Ann.

Marjorie too echoed the sentiment of the great camaraderie with their fellow volunteers. “We’re part of a great team and while we work we chat about all sorts and put the world to rights,” she said. “It’s important to me to do my bit here and support the charity as what it does is vital in making sure people know how to keep their hearts healthy and that research into medical advancements can progress.

“We’re so happy that we’ve been able to contribute for as long as we have and we’ll continue raising awareness and money to fund further research. It’s an absolute pleasure to be part of this wonderful charity and we look forward to what lies ahead in the future.”