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Our Durham City Shop is fondly dubbed the 'Harrod's of the North' due to its reputation for high quality, often designer pre-loved items. This autumn (2020) the shop will celebrate twenty years of trading. Lucille Thomson has volunteered there since its opening and shares a few memories from that time.

“I was not on volunteer duty for the opening day, but I attended the official ceremony conducted by well-loved TV agony aunt Denise Robertson, who was such a good friend to the Hospice. She is very much missed. I bought a small glittery white candle in the shape of a Christmas tree which comes out each year when we put up the decorations.”

I have worked in the 'back shop' steaming clothing and pricing goods, and also worked out front tidying, restocking and on the till. Despite being 'snug', small events have been held such as coffee mornings and raffles. Volunteers and staff display great skill in dressing the window, which is often remarked upon favourably by customers.

“One of the humbling things is the insight into customer’s losses which they often wish to share. Customers tell us how grateful they are for the care they and their loved ones received from the Hospice. One customer who touched my heart was an elderly man who came in looking for a suit. I helped him find what size he needed and he confided that he made his pension stretch by shopping in charity shops. He went on to say that his wife had died and when his daughter called on him, she found a collection of unpaid bills sitting on the mantelpiece. His wife had always dealt with that sort of thing. His daughter got him sorted with direct debits at the bank, and everything got back on an even footing. It was hard to keep the tears at bay at the thought of his loss of his beloved wife and his helplessness in the face of dealing with everyday matters.”
“It has been my privilege to serve in the shop. My long association with St Cuthbert’s has meant I have seen many advances, including the initial opening as a Day Care Centre, then the growth to become an In-Patient Unit. It seems there is always more caring that can be done, and the Hospice needs support in many ways more than ever. St Cuthbert’s is very close to my heart. Having had the opportunity to volunteer has enriched my life.”
If you would like to find out more about joining the team as a volunteer in any of our Hospice shops please click here

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