From lead soliders to creepy dolls, charity shop celebrates turning 30

Sue Ryder in Beccles has celebrated their 30th birthday. Picture: Contributed

Sue Ryder in Beccles has celebrated their 30th birthday. Picture: Contributed - Credit: Archant

A charity store in Beccles has chalked up three decades in business, as they celebrate their birthday.

Since the Sue Ryder charity shop opened their doors in November 1988, volunteers have sifted through thousands of bags of donated clothes, shoes and kitchen goods.

Between the 10 workers at the store, volunteers serve, sell and sort these through these items for up to eight hours each day.

James Gibbons is the oldest volunteer at the store, aged 83, and has been volunteering at the Beccles branch for just over a year.

He greets every customer with charm as they enter the store and never fails to opens the door for female customers.

Mr Gibbons said: 'Something I really enjoy about the job is meeting enchanted people.'

Joanna Mia, of Oulton Broad, has been managing the Beccles and Bungay stores for 18 months.

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Stemming from a supermarket retail background, she has switched to managing the store for the eclectic edge of products, volunteer workers as well as interesting customers.

She said: 'I love the satisfaction I get from developing our volunteers and from giving our customers the thrill of finding a bargain.

'We take pride in our displays and in knowing that all our hard work goes to providing such incredibible care when is it needed the most,' she said.

In her short time at the store, Ms Mia said the volunteers sort through at least a hundred bags of donated clothing a week.

In those bags only 50pc of the goods are put on the shop floor and the rest are donated or put online.

Since she began working for the charity store she has seen witnessed some bizarre donations come through the door.

She said: 'We've had some surprising donations during the years including a huge collection of lead soldiers, that helped us raise over £300.'

As well as the expensive collectables, there has been more memorable items which have not ended up on their shelves.

'There was an old china doll so scary looking that we decided we couldn't put her on the shop floor,' she said.