'It smelt the same' - Surprise at 38-year-old soap donated to foodbank

A packet of soap at least 38-years-old was donated to the NR2 Foodbank in Norwich

A packet of soap at least 38-years-old was donated to the NR2 Foodbank in Norwich - Credit: Karen Davis

A Norwich foodbank was the recipient of a surprising donation this week when volunteers unearthed a packet of soap dating back nearly four decades.

Volunteers at the NR2 foodbank, which runs from a synagogue on Essex Street, were sorting through donations on Tuesday when they discovered a packet of five soap bars with unusual packaging.

The packaging came with a selection of vouchers for discounts on a variety of other hygiene products and retro-looking lettering.

However, on closer inspection, the reason the lettering looked so dated became clear - the vouchers had expired on March 31... 1983!

But despite being more than 38 years old, the soap had not lost any of its smell, and for Karen Davis, who helps run the foodbank, brought memories flooding back.

City councillor Karen Davis, working at the NR2 foodbank. Picture: Karen Davis

City councillor Karen Davis, working at the NR2 foodbank. Picture: Karen Davis - Credit: Karen Davis

She said: "The soap still smells as I remember it from my grandparents' house, so I had quite a nice olfactory flashback.

"We won't be sending it out to the public, obviously, and we don't know who donated it, but we love the memories it brought back and was certainly a talking point among our volunteers."

Most Read

Ms Davis, who turned 10 just two days after the vouchers ran out, said she would be offering them to the Design Museum in London.

She added: "I initially assumed the coupons were designed using retro-style font. It was only when I looked at the bottom of the coupons that I realised the soap was at least 38 years old.

"I love the fact somebody would go to the trouble of donating them rather than just throwing them away and they are a nice piece of socio-economic history.

"There are five bars in the pack, I'm going to open one next week and see if it lathers."

The NR2 foodbank  is a partnership between the Adat Yeshua Synagogue and the NR2 Community Skill Share group

It is not the first time a foodbank in Norwich has received a donation more than three decades old.

Last year, the Norwich Foodbank reminded well-meaning donors to check expiry dates on their pledges, after somebody handed in a tin of anchovies which had expired 33 years ago.