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Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Charity shop manager steps down after more than a decade

A Shropshire charity shop manager has stepped down after more than a decade in the role.

Gayna Woodland has helped raise thousands of pounds for charity
Gayna Woodland has helped raise thousands of pounds for charity

In the 11 years she has been manager of Severn Hospice’s community shop in Cleobury Mortimer, Gayna Woodland has helped raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Not only has the shop contributed huge amounts of income to the charity’s care, Gayna is also part of another volunteer group – the Severn Hospice Cleobury Crafters.

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Now she has stepped out from behind the till and left the shop floor but will carry on her volunteer work in support of the charity she loves.

“I want to say a great big thank you to Severn Hospice for giving me the opportunity to do what I have for the last 11 years,” said Gayna, 65. “There are few jobs where you wake up every morning and want to go to work. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it.

“I’m really looking forward to retiring because it’s time for me to go – I don’t feel as strong as before COVID. But I’m always going to stay in touch.

“Working for Severn Hospice was the best decision I ever made. I’d never worked in retail before, but I saw a little advert in the shop window and I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do’. I’ve truly loved every minute and everything I’ve done here. From working with the volunteers, to the customers and donors, or volunteering with the crafters – everything I’ve done with the hospice has been fun. There is a lot of laughter, and that has been central to our work.

“There is a lot of support for Severn Hospice in Cleobury Mortimer. Many people who come into the shop as volunteers or donors have had help from us and know the value of our care, and feedback is so positive. The warmth and support for the hospice is amazing.”

Gayna is a well-known face around the town and has been at the forefront of the shop.

“Every single day is different – the stage stays the same, but the actors change twice a day. Jane, our assistant manager is brilliant, and the 28 volunteers are such a friendly bunch, with brilliant personalities and the love they have for the shop is immense.

“It really is different working here; people always turn up, they are rarely late, rarely sick and they enjoy being here and making a difference to the community.”

Gayna has also spent many hours volunteering with the Cleobury Crafters, a group which uses unsold material from the shop and then creates dozens of handcrafted items – from bunting to costumes, tea towels and aprons.

“I have loved working with Cleobury Crafters. It adds another layer of fun,” said Gayna. “Material and garments are donated to the shop and if we couldn’t sell them, we’d upcycle them and go out and about to different events selling what we’ve made.

“We’ve had commissions from Hobsons Brewery where we made costumes for the community fair, and we’ve made bunting, including when the whole shop was involved in cutting and sewing bunting a third of a mile long for the 2012 Olympics which went from the top of the town to the bottom.

“Another time we made a cover for a two-seater light aircraft and that really was great.”

Gayna encourages everyone she meets to try their hand at volunteering.

“Give it a go! You don’t know what you’re missing,” she added.

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