One of our incredible volunteers, Mildred Ford is celebrating 40 years of volunteering with the Hospice.
Mildred, now 90, was one of the initial volunteers to work at our first charity shop when it opened at Wells Road in Totterdown in 1981.
Great grandmother Mildred was introduced to the hospice by her friend. She said, "I was working as a teaching assistant when my days got dropped from five to four a week, so I had a day spare and wanted to do something with it."
Mildred signed up to help and became a familiar face at the shop. "I did a bit of everything," she said. "From sorting clothes out to working behind the counter."
But our first hospice shop - set up by supporter John Miles - was very different to the 47 charity shops we run today.
"We had no tills in those days, just a cash box," said Mildred. "We had to write down every sale and put the money in the box. At the end of the day we'd count up the takings and for some reason there always seemed to be more money in the box than what we had written down in the book."
"I go into the shops now and think how different they are to what it was in my day."
Mildred stopped volunteering at the shop when she retired. But her support continued as she went on to help out at our annual Christmas market for many years before taking over responsibility for serving the refreshments.
"I have been involved with the hospice for so many years," she said. "And it's been a lot of fun and I've made some marvellous friends."
This year, we're celebrating the 40th anniversary of the opening of our first shop.
We now have 47 shops, including a coffee shop and a Furniture and Home store, across the Bristol area, that have become hubs at the heart of each local community.
Not only do the shops raise vital income for the Hospice, but they offer volunteering and job opportunities, as well as being a sustainable way to shop.
Each shop is run by a dedicated team of staff, drivers and volunteers who contribute hours of their time sorting donations, merchandising and delivering stock.
More than £2 million of our funding comes through our shops. Our Head of Retail, John Broomhead said about our volunteers, "They are quite simply the lifeblood of our retail operation. And without people like Mildred we would not be able to do what we do every day and raise vital funds for the Hospice."Back to News