Harleston shopkeeper becomes charity’s ambassador

A young mum, who left school with no qualifications, is preparing to deliver a speech to a room full of American millionaires after her life was transformed thanks to a national charity.

Donna Mayes, 26, who set up her own children's clothes shop in Harleston last year, is set to fly to New York next month after becoming an ambassador for the Prince's Trust.

The mother-of-two, who lives in Eye, contacted the youth charity last August after opting against living on benefits and deciding to open her own store.

Miss Mayes, received business advice and training from the Prince's Trust and funding to get her business off the ground, said she wanted to give something back after being invited to speak to business people in New York on November 3 to try and secure additional funding for the charity.

She added that she was 'shocked' and on 'cloud nine' when she was asked to become an ambassador and speak to the cocktail party organised by billionaire Jim Chanos and Barclays Capital president Jerry del Missier.

Miss Mayes said she could not praise the Prince's Trust enough after setting up Kids Wear, in the Thoroughfare in Harleston, despite leaving school at 13 with no qualifications. She added that she was going to tell the US businessmen how much the trust transformed her life.

'They are always there on the phone when I need them and I have a business mentor who has been fantastic. As an ambassador, I want to give something back after they helped me so much,' she said.

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The businesswoman has also been named as a finalist in the Prince's Trust regional Flying Start awards, which recognises the achievements of young people who have overcome barriers to get on the work ladder. The ceremony will take place in Cambridge on November 22.