When it came to choose a charity that’s close to my heart, heart was the operative word. Over ten years ago now my Dad had a heart attack, which thankfully he has fully recovered from (but was rather dramatic at the time, to say the least). Afterwards he wanted to do something to give back to heart disease research and took part in a drug trial for some years after. So, The British Heart Foundation with their mission to create a world without heart and circulatory diseases was the obvious choice.

I approached one of their local charity shops in Dorking and couldn’t have wished for a more positive response. Liz who runs the branch was happy to have an extra pair of hands and made the process very simple. With the form all filled out and the references checked, to make sure I wasn’t an axe murder (I’m not), I headed along to do what I could to help-out. I was given a very friendly welcome by all the staff and set to work taking old stock off the rails or marking it down to put into the sale. The clothes that don’t sell after a few weeks go into ‘rag bags’ and the charity get paid by weight for the clothes, which are either recycled or sent to Africa, so nothing goes to waste.

Then it was on to sorting the handbag display and checking the latest delivery of Christmas cards. The store itself was looking very festive with a huge array of Christmas cards and gifts (my favourite was the reindeer food) not to mention the winter warmers (new cosy hats, gloves and scarfs). With shoppers taking refuge from the cold to browse and the till ringing throughout the day it was a great atmosphere in the shop and a fabulous team to be part of (if briefly).

Charity shops up and down the country are an important revenue driver for all sorts of charities and are predominately kept going by those who give their time to help. Every penny counts, as The British Heart foundation aims to ensure that at least 70p in every £1 raised or donated is spent on the life-saving research they fund, while the rest is invested to grow their income. While Coronary Heart Disease remains the number 1 killer in the UK there is still so much to do so it’s never been more important to help find a cure for heart disease. To find out more about how you can help visit www.bhf.org.uk

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