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Talking shop – volunteers needed

Meet Helen Stirling. The sprightly pensioner turns 80 this year. Not that you’d guess. The Rainbows volunteer says giving her time to the charity’s Loughborough shop is one of the things that keeps her young.

“I like to keep active,” she says. “And I love meeting people. The atmosphere in the shop is lovely!” She’s been working as a volunteer since the charity shop opened in July last year – and says she has no plans to ‘retire’. Originally from Epsom, Surrey, Helen was still working for Marks & Spencer until she moved to Loughborough to be close to her daughter two years ago. She now works two mornings a week in the shop - and is urging others to come and get involved. “It is very rewarding,” she adds. “What you give, you get back.”

And there’s always plenty to do. Whether it is receiving and sorting donations, working on displays, helping customers, or serving on the till. It can be whatever volunteers are most comfortable with.

Take rugged North Sea ‘rigger’ Alan McGinnigle (cor) (59). “I love sorting through the donations in the back office,” says the Glaswegian, now based in Hathern. “I’m usually away on North Sea gas platforms for two weeks at a time,” explained the trained paramedic, who now specialises in health and safety. “It helps me switch off and relax when I’m back – and it’s all for such a good cause,” he adds. “I like pottering in the background, sorting through the wide array of things that come in.”

There are six shops across the East Midlands supporting the charity, which cares for youngsters with life-limiting conditions and their families.

Karen Bilsby, Rainbows Head of Retail, said: “Our charity shops play an important part in raising the money we need to provide the very best support to families when they need it most. And it is something anyone can get involved in, whether it is donating quality unwanted items, or helping out in one of our shops for a few hours a week. We are always keen to hear from volunteers to help in any of our shops, whether that be in Beeston, or Blaby, or one of our other outlets. Everyone’s welcome and their help can make a difference!”

To volunteer, donate or for further information about Rainbows shops visit: www.rainbows.co.uk/shops/

(Photo caption)

Your time to shine: Volunteers (left) Adrian Chambers, Helen Stirling and Alan McGinnigle.