Charity Shop Volunteering Campaign: Retirees in Action – Shirley Wilson from British Heart Foundation

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C3SC is proud to support the Charity Retail Association’s Charity Shop Volunteering campaign. This week, we are highlighting the hard work and achievements of #CharityShopVolunteersWales

The theme for today’s Charity Shop Volunteering Campaign is Retirees.

Shirley Wilson is a retiree who volunteers at the British Heart Foundation in Caerphilly.

Shirley CA6 2   Shirley CA6 1

Tell us about you! What inspired you to sign up? What did your friends and family make of it?

My father died from heart disease and I felt I needed to do something towards the cause – for the research. He died in 1992, and it was round about 1992/93 when I first volunteered…it’s hard to remember! I remember all the old girls up at the old shop. It was over 20 years ago. I had a 10 year break in the middle, but apart from that I’ve been here! It’s been 17 years, say 16 to be on the safe side!

They think it’s good, that you put something in, do something worthwhile. The main thing that I love is that you work as part of a team – I love to be with these people! (Brainwashed her! Joan) (I can see you and Joan are a double team whilst volunteering)

Yeah, there are some great volunteers here, and these are people who will stand by you through good… and bad. There’s a real bond here, and friendship. You share your good moments, and your not-so-good moments.(And coffee cake! – Joan)

(Intricate steaming, very delicate garment)

Shirley talks about delicacy, and the intricacy of some garments, and it reminds her of a surgeon. She goes on to talk about how much respect she has for surgeons, and mentions that her husband was diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago, and surgeons saved his life. She mentioned that volunteering had helped her through this time and had supported her with her network of fellow volunteers and friends at the shop.

Why did you want to volunteer? (Right time of life? Give something back? Trying to get work experience?)

Knowing that you’re helping others, helping with the research. With my Dad, it was too late, whereas now I feel like I am contributing to the research. That would be the main reason I volunteer, for the research.

What have you enjoyed about volunteering? Any highlights?

 (Shirley has to think about the past 17/18 years…!) Oh yeah, we went out for a day out to Llanllyr dressed as peasants! Medieval peasants, in caps and everything, so we fitted in (with the historical gardens etc) this was going back years, mind! Can’t dress as a peasant nowadays…!

What’s been your favourite moment volunteering?

Generally, I like to come in with good people, hang, steam and have a laugh! (We discussed Shirley’s length of service, and how involved she has been in setting up the new shop and how much the support staff have been praising her) There’s lots of other volunteers who are ever so helpful, it’s not just me… (A time a few years back Shirley and another volunteer had sold roses in town to raise money, and how much she had enjoyed it.)

Would you encourage others to get involved? And if so, why?

Oh definitely!

(Shirley is very complimentary about three of the new starters she has helped to welcome to the shop.) Why, well we need to raise more money for the research. Keep the fight against heart disease going – there’s so many people suffering with problems, and they’re not getting better. You see the babies being born with heart conditions, and makes you think I need to do something to help!

*Every volunteer, shop staff member, and visiting support staff member cannot speak more highly of Shirley. She is a genuinely warm, gentle and humorous person who quietly and diligently completes her work, whilst simultaneously ensuring everyone around her is ok. She is not the longest serving volunteer at Caerphilly, but is a shining example of a volunteer who has had an incredible positive impact.*

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